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Lebanon navigates food challenge with no grain silo and few stocks

DUBAI/BEIRUT–Beirut’s blast destroyed Lebanon’s only large grain silo, with plans for another in the country’s second biggest port Tripoli shelved years ago due to a lack of funding, the U.N.’s FAO, Tripoli port director and a regional grain expert told Reuters. The destruction of the 120,000-tonne capacity structure and of the port, the main entry…
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400 Filipinos expected to be flown out of Lebanon next week

MANILA, Philippines — Around 400 Filipinos in Lebanon are expected to be flown to the Philippines next week following the deadly explosion that rocked the Port of Beirut, a Philippine envoy said on Friday. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it has already charted a repatriation flight scheduled for next Sunday, August 16. The…
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India hits 2 million cases as health volunteers strike

NEW DELHI—- As India hit another grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, crossing 2 million cases and more than 41,000 deaths, community health volunteers went on strike complaining they were ill-equipped to respond to the wave of infection in rural areas. Even as India has maintained comparatively low mortality rates, the disease trajectory…
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Pagasa: LPA may intensify to tropical depression in coming days

MANILA, Philippines — The low pressure area (LPA) east of Luzon may intensify into a tropical depression in the next 36 hours, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said on Friday. Pagasa’s 5 p.m. weather forecast showed that the LPA, last spotted 455 kilometers east of Baler, Aurora, is currently pulling cloud…
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Olongapo gets 7 new COVID-19 cases, its single day highest

SAN ANTONIO, ZAMBALES—Olongapo City logged its highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases on Friday (Aug. 7), officials said.   Olongapo City Mayor Rolen Paulino Jr. said seven new COVID-19 patients were added to the city’s tally of 19 cases.   Among the latest reported cases were those of two healthworkers aged 26 and 30.  …
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Russia’s race for virus vaccine raises concerns in the West

MOSCOW— Russia boasts that it’s about to become the first country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, with mass vaccinations planned as early as October using shots that are yet to complete clinical trials — and scientists worldwide are sounding the alarm that the headlong rush could backfire. Moscow sees a Sputnik-like propaganda victory, recalling the…
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Sam Milby believes Catriona Gray is ‘The One’

MANILA, Philippines — As the famous Hotdog song goes, “Ikaw Ang Miss Universe ng buhay ko.” And Sam Milby somehow believes this, as he sees Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray as “The One.” “It’s early naman (to say), but I do believe she’s the one,” Milby proudly said during the press conference of his upcoming…
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Chinese hotel guest in Subic test positive for coronavirus

SAN ANTONIO, ZAMBALES—A 29-year-old Chinese national who arrived at Subic Bay Freeport a month ago tested positive for SARS Cov2, the virus that causes COVID-19, authorities said on Friday (Aug. 7).   Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chief Wilma Eisma said that the patient, who was staying in a hotel, showed no symptoms and had…
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Military says NPA platoon leader, medic wife surrender

PAGADIAN CITY—The military said a couple, who hold key posts in the New People’s Army in the Zamboanga Peninsula, has surrendered.   Lt. Col. Manaros Boransing, commander of the Army’s 97th Infantry Battalion, identified the couple only as alias Peewee and alias Ritche.   The husband, according to Boransing, is commander of the NPA’s strike…
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Smart Enterprise subscribers to experience interruption Monday morning

MANILA, Philippines — Subscribers to Smart’s Enterprise plan would be experiencing mobile data interruption due to a network routing enhancement scheduled in the early morning of Monday, August 10. According to Smart’s advisory on Friday, the service interruptions may occur from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. of Monday. However, the telecoms giant clarified that only…
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Russia ready to supply PH with ‘effective, safe’ COVID-19 vaccines — envoy

MANILA, Philippines — Russia expressed readiness to supply the Philippines with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines, its envoy in Manila said Friday, adding that results of the trials are turning out “very promising.” “The Russian side is ready to closely cooperate with the Philippine partners in this field,” Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev told…
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Doctor’s group exec says gov’t response vs COVID-19 on right track

MANILA, Philippines — An official of the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) has lauded the government’s COVID-19 response for being on the right track, speculating that “hiccups” may have been caused by local government units (LGUs) failing to effectively implement policies. According to Dr. Maria Encarnita Limpin, an internist at the Philippine Heart Center and…
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PH testing czar backs serology testing

MANILA, Philippines — Vince Dizon, country’s testing czar, threw his support behind the serology testing machines used for COVID-19 mass testing in Manila, saying it is more accurate than the rapid antibody test. “‘Yung serology test, kakaiba yung ginagamit ng Manila, yung Abott, is mas accurate ‘yan kaysa dun sa rapid antibody test,” Dizon said…
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Another challenge: Bangsamoro, lumad ask SC to nullify terror law

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The successive challenges to the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 continued with a group of Bangsamoro and indigenous peoples on Friday (Aug. 7) filing a petition at the Supreme Court to nullify the controversial law.   “We humbly ask the highest court in the land to declare null and void Republic Act 11479,…
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Chinese research vessel lingers near Recto Bank

MANILA, Philippines—A Chinese research vessel was spotted near the resource-rich Recto (Reed) Bank, inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.   The vessel, Xiang Yang Hong 14, has been spotted there since Aug. 6, according to vessel tracker websiteMarineTraffic.com.   Another Chinese survey ship, Haiyan Dizhi Hao 12, was also spotted…
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Downdraft blamed for crashes of Wyoming sightseeing balloons

JACKSON, Wyo. — Three sightseeing hot air balloons crashed this week in western Wyoming because of an unexpected downdraft during a freak storm, according to the balloon company owner. The crashes on Monday injured more than a dozen people and 11 were treated at hospitals. “I just want to express my sorrow and regret that…
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Special Report: COVID opens new doors for China’s gene giant

SYDNEY — As countries scramble to test for the novel coronavirus, a Chinese company has become a go-to name around the world. BGI Group, described in one 2015 study as “Goliath” in the fast-growing field of genomics research, is using an opening created by the pandemic to expand its footprint globally. In the past six…
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Small investors gobble up RTBs, raise record P516.3B despite pandemic

MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of the Treasury has raised a record P516.3 billion from the sale of three-year retail treasury bonds (RTBs) dubbed as “progreso bonds” to small investors despite a COVID-19-induced recession.   National Treasurer Rosalia V. de Leon on Friday said P488.5 billion was new money from fresh sales, while P27.8 billion came from…
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Palace factors ramped-up testing in overtaking Indonesia in COVID-19 tally

MANILA, Philippines — Malacaang on Friday gave much credit to the government’s ramped up testing capacity, which it said was a factor for the Philippines overtaking Indonesia in terms of number of coronavirus cases. This,after the Philippines became the country with the highest COVID-19 infections in Southeast Asia countries with 119, 460 cases surpassing Indonesia’s…
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3 Wyoming sightseeing balloons crash, as many as 20 injured

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Three sightseeing balloons crashed Monday in a popular Wyoming tourist destination, injuring as many as 20 people in what one passenger called a terrifying few minutes. The balloons, owned by the same tour operator, went down separately near Jackson Hole and did not crash into each other, Teton County Sheriff Matt Carr…
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5-month-old baby among 7 new COVID-19 cases in Nueva Ecija

CABANATUAN CITY —- Seven new confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), including a 5-month-old baby girl, raised to 255 the tally in Nueva Ecija on Friday. The baby girl is the grandchild of a couple from Barangay Vega in Bongabon town who had tested positive for the virus, according to the local task force.…
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Task force probe on PhilHealth should cover ‘2013 onwards’ – Sotto

MANILA, Philippines — Since the high-level task force created to investigate alleged corruption at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) is at it, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said it might as well extend its probe as far back as 2013. “I suggest they start from 2013 onwards,” Sotto said in a message to reporterswhen…
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SAP beneficiary nabbed in Bulacan buy-bust

PLARIDEL, Bulacan —- A 33-year-old beneficiary of the government’s Special Amelioration Program (SAP) was arrested during a buy-bust operation here on Thursday. Police Capt. Danny Cabotaje, Plaridel police chief, said Jonathan Galvez was among those arrested after being caught selling shabu (crystal meth) to a police undercover agent in Barangay Tabang. The police said they…
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New virus-detection lab at Pasig hospital nearly 100% operational

  MANILA, Philippines — The operations at the molecular laboratory in Pasig City’s COVID-19 referral hospital are nearing 100 percent, which will be able to detect and trace coronavirus from COVID-19-infected residents. In a tweet, Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto said the laboratory conducts swab testing, which is the “gold standard” of testing, and ECLIA testing,…
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