Start Magazine | Latest News

Jammu first in J&K to vaccinate over 2 lakh people in 45+ age group

The UT has so far reported 14, 51, 66 Covid infections, of which 10, 910 are still active. J&K has so far recorded 2, 051 deaths.

read more...

Rahul calls off election rallies in West Bengal amid Covid-19 spike

Gandhi’s decision came when his party had been critical of the Narendra Modi-led BJP’s plan to continue political rallies in West Bengal.

read more...

127 million Covishield doses and 17 million Covaxin sent by centre so far

Data shows 144 million doses sent to states till April 18, most of these of Covishield.

read more...

CM issues appeal for beds as 1 in 3 samples in Delhi is positive

Kejriwal said he urged Union home minister Amit Shah to increase the number of Covid-19 beds in central government hospitals and help with oxygen supply.

read more...

Person of interest located in Wisconsin shooting that killed 3 people, injured 3 others, police say

A person of interest in the Kenosha shooting that killed three and injured three others early Sunday morning has been located and will be criminally charged with one count of first degree intentional homicide, according to the Kenosha Police Department.

read more...

Chip shortage casts shadow on China's auto industry recovery

By Norihiko Shirouzu and Yilei Sun SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Auto industry executives are rattled by a global shortage of semiconductors

read more...

How the Trump era made redistricting more complicated

The political upheaval caused by the rise of former President Donald Trump has forced party operatives and elected officials tasked with laying out the nation's congressional districts for the next decade to determine whether those shifts were aberrations or signs of more lasting changes.

read more...

Haryana’s positivity rate reaches 5.23%, recovery in reverse gear

Uptick in positivity since April 1; with 7,177 new infections in a day, state registers another major spike

read more...

Amid Covid surge, Kalka-Shimla heritage track sees 70% drop in passenger traffic

Before the resurgence in cases, trains on the track were running at full capacity, especially the special vista dome coaches, which were launched in 2019 and are a major tourist draw.

read more...

36 mines to start operations soon

Some 36 mining firms are set to start operations soon following the issuance of Executive Order (EO) 130 that lifted the moratorium on new mining projects. In a text exchange, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Wilfredo Moncano said there 36 metallic and non-metallic mines in his agency’s current list of pending mining applications that are poised to start operations soon, while 65 more are up for processing as new Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSAs). With this volume of applications, the government agency tasked to regulate and develop the mining sector, expects to be unprecedentedly busy for the rest of the year moving forward. As a start, the agency now has to process more than a hundred mining applications that have already secured a “priority” status. Some applications were lodged even before EO 79 took effect nine years ago. “Most of them [that are up for MPSA processing] are under Priority Phase 2 (65 in all). Those under Phase 1 (36 in all) are in the last stages of their processing needing only one or two lacking documents to be completed,” Moncano told Business Bulletin. “Lots of applications were filed prior to EO 79,” he further said. Moncano said the 36 mines being reviewed under Priority Phase 1 are “ripe to start [operations] this year”, while those under Phase 2 of the review “can start development and construction in 2022”. “Some in Phase 1 have in fact completed the documentary requirements and started development and construction in preparation to commercial extraction. Most of those in Phase 1 are non-metallic category,” he further said. When asked what it took for these mining applications to be under priority phases, Moncano said the categorization was based on the assessment and consultation conducted by the regional offices of MGB. “The Regional Office of MGB was tasked to assess and consult the mining companies if these particular companies have ready funds to use anytime all approvals are secured; the project has finished their exploration program, delineated a reserve, and the mineral reserves can last at least 10 years mine life at the target production rate; has filed or in the process of filing a Declaration of Mining Project Feasibility,” Moncano said. A mining application is also categorized as a priority once they already have an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC), Tree Cutting Permit, Foreshore Lease Agreement or Special Land Use Agreement, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) permit for loading port, an approved or on-going deliberation of Social Development and Management Program (SDMP), Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program (EPEP), Safety and Health Programs (SHP), final mine rehabilitation and decommissioning plan (FMRDP), Care and Maintenance Program (CMP), and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) permit. Moncano said that the processing of applications will generally follow the government’s existing procedure but will be expedited. “DENR [Department of Environment and Natural Resources] Sectors concerned will help and support the fast approval of these applications. An IRR [Implementing Rules and Regulations] will also be crafted for EO 130,” the MGB chief said. Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte signed EO 130, amending the Aquino Administration’s infamous EO 79, which banned the approval of new mining projects in 2012 until there’s no new legislation rationalizing revenue-sharing scheme between the government and miners. With EO 130, Duterte still wants the existing revenue-sharing scheme in the mining sector rationalized, but the ban on new mining projects is no longer there. Furthermore, the President ordered authorities to review existing mineral deals for possible renegotiation. The issuance came two days after Business Bulletin reported that Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III signed and forwarded a memorandum to the Office of the President (OP), which contains concerns and appeals made by the mining sector to the government. OP issued a stay order on mining companies that were ordered closed and suspended by former Environment Secretary and late Regina Paz Lopez. EO 130 was issued a few days later. Right now, the Philippines’ untapped mineral resources are projected to have a combined value of over $1 trillion. Based on MGB’s earlier estimates, the Philippines has total estimated gold reserves of 1.9 billion metric tons (MT), while the country has silver reserves of 1.7 billion MT. Meanwhile, the country’s estimated copper reserves stood at 1.8 billion MT, while the reserves for iron and nickel stood around 116 million MT and 116.14 million MT, respectively. Chromite’s reserves are at 47.3 million MT.

read more...

Banks set P148 B for MSME loans

Banks have allocated P148 billion new loans to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as of end-February as alternative compliance to the reserve requirements (RR) of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). As part of relief measures to cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BSP has allowed the use of loans to MSMEs and large enterprises as alternative compliance with RR against deposit liabilities and deposit substitutes until the end of 2022. The Monetary Board however can decide to close the relief measure earlier if they find it’s no longer needed. These loans are new or refinancing for existing MSME loans and critically-affected large enterprises. The BSP has put a limit of P300 billion for MSMEs and P425 billion for large enterprises as alternative compliance with the RR. As of the reserve week ending February 25, MSME loan for RR compliance is only 10.4 percent of total required reserves. There is still P151.3 billion-worth of unutilized loanable amount to MSMEs. As for large enterprises, bank allocations have reached P30.8 billion or 2.2 percent of the required reserves in the same period. The available balance for large enterprises under the relief measures is P394.2 billion. Before the relief measure was approved, MSME loan portfolio was only P8.7 billion in April last year. The BSP allowed other modes of alternative compliance to MSMEs and large enterprises such as loans that are current and not past due or non-performing are eligible to be considered as alternative compliance to the RR. The exception is an MSME loan or large enterprise loan that has been renewed or restructured. Loans granted to MSMEs and large enterprises that are not part of conglomerate structure are counted as part of banks’ compliance with the RR rule. The BSP have other relief measures that are MSME-related such as temporarily reducing from 75 percent to 50 percent the credit risk weight of MSME loans that are current in status and assigning zero weight to MSME loans covered by guarantees from the Philippine Guarantee Corporation, Agricultural Guarantee Fund Pool, and the Agricultural Credit Policy Council.

read more...

Fees, standards issues pester PH EV roadmap

The costs to be paid in charging electric vehicles as well as the standards to be enforced in charging stations remained as the ‘most debatable’ concerns in the crafting of the proposed Comprehensive Roadmap for Electric Vehicles (CREV) in the Philippines. Those issues were repeatedly raised by various stakeholders in a virtual public consultation convened on Friday (April 16) by the Department of Energy (DOE), the lead agency formulating the electric mobility blueprint of the country. When asked on the charging fees to be imposed for EVs, Director Patrick T. Aquino of the DOE’s Energy Utilization and Management Bureau (EUMB), stated that they will cling in to the universal concept that it shall be “affordable” to the consumers. He, nevertheless, apprised relevant stakeholders that the department will be engaging the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on the ‘charging fee’ proposition, so the industry could have a clearer picture of how much that would be in the successive consultation processes. On the charging stations, the department was also quizzed if the country will just adopt one standard or there will be multiple charging station models that will be rolled out in the country. As it is, Aquino noted that they will be considering the inputs and queries raised by the industry stakeholders and will integrate them in the revisions and in the finalization of the CREV. “This is something that we’re working on in the comprehensive roadmap, which will include economic viability study. We’re still hoping to have that roadmap onboard within the year,” the energy official said. He pointed out that inputs from its ally-government agencies, such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) were already crafted and issued – and these will be incorporated in the final and comprehensive EV development and investment roadmap. “We will integrate all inputs with respect to the viability of coming up with a single standard and the integration calls for distribution utilities…also, on the commercial concerns that were raised and how that would interact in incentivizing this,” Aquino said. The DOE earlier issued its draft Circular on the guidelines of setting up charging infrastructure facilities – that shall cover both public and private domains, such as spaces in government offices and establishments, private properties that shall include malls and condominium buildings and even gasoline stations. The department initially laid down that there must be at least four classifications of EV charging facilities, but that has generated most of the questions from the industry stakeholders and these are still subject to definitive and concrete decisions from the policy framers. (MMV)

read more...

Razon wary pandemic may last end of 2021

Billionaire Enrique K. Razon Jr. is not letting his guard down and intends to manage the resources of his port and gaming businesses judiciously, wary of a prolonged pandemic that may last until the end of the year. During the annual stockholders’ meeting of Bloomberry Resorts Corporation, Razon said “we will maintain prudence in the management of our operating costs and balance sheet by accounting for the worst-case scenario.” “That is, we recognize the possibility of remaining in a prolonged pandemic situation for the rest of this year,” he explained. However, Razon said “Our management team is focused on bringing revenue and profit levels back up in spite of the limitations, while remaining conscious of our cash preservation goals.” For additional support, Bloomberry has successfully upsized one of its existing credit facilities to make available a P20 billion credit line “that will help us outlive the pandemic.” At the International Container Terminal Services Inc. ASM, Razon said “we continue to be alert and prepared to adapt quickly as new information and challenges arise. We are certainly not letting our guard down.” Despite this, he said “The Group’s capital expenditure budget for 2021 is approximately $250.0 million.” This is higher than the target capex of US$160 million for 2020 and the actual $198 million spent last year. This year’s capex will be used for the completion of the expansion project at the MICT in the Philippines, the ongoing expansion at Matadi Gateway Terminal in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the new expansion project at VICT in Australia, equipment acquisitions and upgrades, and for various maintenance requirements. Meanwhile, Bloomberry will continue work on key capital projects at Solaire and in Quezon City. Work on Solaire North continues, but the pace has slowed since various health and safety measures have been set up to protect workers. “Despite tough construction conditions, we look forward to delivering a high-quality product by 2023, in time for a potential strong economic recovery that usually follows a crisis and the return of international travel and tourism,” said Razon.

read more...

'Revenge Delivered' Review: Olunike Adeliyi is a treat to watch in Lifetime film that forces too much suspense

Several years ago, Dr Brooks made a decision to save a baby and not its mother based on the mother's pleas, but this decision has come back to haunt her

read more...

DOF sees faster non-food inflation

The Department of Finance (DOF) remains cautious about inflation as it expects prices of petroleum may increase at a much faster pace in the coming months. Based on the latest economic bulletin, Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran said that while headline inflation had slowed last month, the rate of increase in non-food prices rose from 2.69 percent to 3.21 percent. Beltran attributed the faster non-food price inflation to the double-digit year-on-year increase in transportation, which hit 13.85 percent in March. “Base effects from energy prices on year-on-year inflation will be felt in the coming months,” the DOF chief economist warned. According to World Bank, Dubai crude price oil averaged at $63.95 per barrel last month, up by 175 percent from $23.27 per barrel in April last year, the lowest since December 2002. To temper the accelerating non-food prices, Beltran said it is important that the strict quarantine measures do not impede the transportation of perishable primary food items. The Philippines Statistics Authority reported that the general price level decelerated to 4.5 percent in March, down from the 4.66 percent in the previous month, but nearly twice the 2.51 percent a year earlier. Beltran explained that the slower inflation from April’s level was largely on account of major food items. In particular, he said meat price inflation eased to only 0.07 percent, fish price inflation declined by 1.25 percent, and vegetable price inflation declined by nearly 9.6 percent. Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said the government is committed to stabilizing prices by augmenting food supply and ensuring that the supply chains of goods, especially food, will be unhampered. Chua said they will continue to address supply issues and logistics bottlenecks to ensure price stability, especially for food and essential goods. “We are working with a great sense of urgency to protect the purchasing power of the people, majority of whom have lower or forgone income as a result of the ECQ, and ensure better access to healthy, safe and affordable food,” Chua said. Despite being outside the central bank’s target range of 2.0 percent to 4.0 percent, Chua said the lower inflation rate recorded for March is a good indicator of price stabilization and the government expects the succeeding inflation rates to align with targets soon.

read more...

Delivery of coco levy benefits to take time

Farmers’ groups do not expect the Philippine government to deliver anytime soon the machineries urgently needed to develop the coconut sector even with the passage of the Republic Act (RA) 11524, also known as the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act or Coco Levy Act. In a text exchange, Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) Secretary-General and Peasant Sector Representative Leonardo Q. Montemayor said with the passage of RA 11524, the government must now work double to respond to the needs of the coconut farmers. But at the same time, he is not keeping his hopes high about farmers receiving anytime soon the mechanization support that will be funded through the coco levy fund, which is the tax collected from coconut farmers during the Marcos administration. The RA 11524, which took effect last month, paves the way for the release of the P100-billion coco levy fund and assets. Based on RA 11524, Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) will be the lead agency tasked to handle the fund, while the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) is one of the government agencies to get a yearly allocation from the coco levy fund. The law requires PhilMech to help in the establishment of shared facilities across the country for the use of small coconut farmers. To do this, it will be given an annual 10 percent allocation, or at least P5 billion, from the coco levy trust fund. “PhilMech will have to network with farmers groups and other stakeholders and increase the number of personnel,” Montemayor told Business Bulletin. “It must work double-time to understand and respond to the needs of coconut farmers and their cooperatives. The whole process will take time and more funding,” he added. Just recently, several coconut farmers and farmers’ groups had a dialogue with PhilMech Director Baldwin Jallorina and PCA Deputy Administrator Roel Rosales. Montemayor said it was the farmers’ groups that initiated the meeting. During the meeting, Rosales said that PCA will be holding consultations with the various implementing agencies (IAs) under RA 11524 and that coconut farmers’ organizations will be invited. He also told farmers to submit the names of their focal persons, who will be consulted and asked to help the PCA prepare the memorandum of agreement with PhilMech and other IAs of RA 11524. The other IAs of RA 11524 include the Department of Agriculture (DA), Landbank of the Philippines (LANDBANK), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), among others. These agencies will all get an annual allocation from the coco levy trust fund, ranging from hundreds of millions to billions. Aside from FFF, the other farmers’ groups that were in the recent dialogue with PCA and PhilMech include the Confederation of Small Coconut Farmers Organizations of the Philippines (CONFED) and KILUS Magniniyog. On March 31, Jallorina assured that PhilMech can properly use and manage its annual allocation from the coco levy fund. This, because the agency now has to juggle its two major roles under RA 11524 and Rice Tariffication Law or RA 11203, which liberalized rice importation in the Philippines. When RA 11203 was passed in 2019, PhilMech also had a hard time adjusting, and only after more than a year since the law was passed when the agency actually began purchasing and distributing rice farm machineries. Moving forward, Jallorina said the agency will request additional funding from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) so it could hire more people ahead of the establishment of coconut shared facilities.

read more...

'Revenge Delivered' Full Cast List: Meet Olunike Adeliyi, Mary Antonini and rest of the stars of the Lifetime thriller

Knowing Lifetime's penchant for films that have viewers on the edge of their seats, let's hope they 'deliver' the thrills with this one as well

read more...

European Super League: Who's saying what

A selection of England, Spain and Italy's biggest clubs are reportedly set to announce plans for a breakaway European Super

read more...

Soccer-Nervy Milan return to winning ways against Genoa

MILAN (Reuters) -AC Milan secured a first home Serie A win for over two months with a nervy 2-1 victory

read more...

13-year-old Yamunanagar rape survivor’s pregnancy terminated

The case had come to light on April 13, when the Jagadhari Civil Hospital informed Childline that the minor was 22 weeks pregnant.

read more...

Soccer-Atletico hammer Eibar 5-0 to reassert title claim

MADRID (Reuters) -La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid thrashed basement club Eibar 5-0 on Sunday in an emphatic response to a

read more...

Galaxy edge Neville's Inter Miami in MLS season opener

Phil Neville tasted defeat in his first competitive match as Inter Miami manager as a double from former Manchester United

read more...

Soccer-Juve slip to fourth in Serie A after late loss to Atalanta

BERGAMO, Italy (Reuters) -Juventus slipped to a last-gasp 1-0 defeat at Atalanta on Sunday as Gian Piero Gasperini's side leapfrogged

read more...

Bumgarner back on track as Arizona beats Washington 5-2

Madison Bumgarner had his best outing of the season, allowing a run over five innings as the Arizona Diamondbacks beat Washington 5-2 after Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg was a late scratch

read more...

3 days after Panipat man’s suicide, sons’ bodies found

On April 14, Anil Kumar, 28, had left the house with his three sons, following an argument with his wife; the third son is still missing

read more...
NEXT PAGE