Thursday, 25 March 2010

Hopkins eyes Haye while Jones vows victory in rematch

LAS VEGAS - Bernard Hopkins is talking about fighting heavyweight world champion David Haye of Britain while Roy Jones is talking about giving Hopkins his first knockout loss in their April 3 showdown.

The boxing legends spoke Wednesday in conference calls ahead of their fight at Las Vegas, which 41-year-old Jones said could be the capper to his career and 45-year-old Hopkins said could launch him into a bout with Haye.

"Start pumping that now. You're thinking like me," Hopkins said. "That scenario sounds good to me but I have got to do my thing on April 3."

Haye, the World Boxing Association heavyweight champion who is 23-1 with 21 knockouts, fights American John Ruiz on April 3 in England but hopes to next fight a Ukranian rival champion, either Vitali or Wladimir Klitschko.

Hopkins has been counted out in ring deals before, if never in the ring, but wears his age like a badge of pride as he plans for Haye and perhaps beyond.

"As I keep being reminded that I'm 45 like it's a death sentence, have I been fighting like I'm 45?" Hopkins said.

"I'm saying this fight is for my future career. I have to not only win this fight but win impressively. I'm setting up the next big thing to Bernard Hopkins."

Jones 54-6 with 40 knockouts, is a former heavyweight champion himself thanks to a victory over Ruiz. He won a unanimous decision over Hopkins, 50-5 with one drawn and 32 knockouts, in their first fight in 1993 at Washington.

"He was more of a young fighter trying to win by any means necessary," Jones said. "This time he's a little smarter. He doesn't take as many risks. He's more of an opportunist than he was back then."

Jones said no matter how the fight goes, it might be his last.

"It could be a way to end my career," Jones said. "I will have to see. If everything turns out well, then maybe. And if Bernard Hopkins can hurt me, it's time to hang it up."

Both fighters have something to prove. Jones suffered a first round knockout in his last fight last December to Danny Green and is 5-5 in the past six years while Hopkins has lost three of his past seven fights and beat Mexico's Enrique Ornelas last December in his only start for the past 18 months.

"He feels like I'm done. I'm washed up. I'm old goods. That's the only reason he's taking the fight now," Jones said.

"I'm going to give him my secret punch, guaranteed to stop him. He's going to sleep by knockout. There's nothing he can do to win."

Hopkins, naturally, disagrees.

"Roy ain't going to knock Bernard Hopkins out," Hopkins said. "He's one up on me. It's a personal vendetta. I've got something legitimate to me personally in this fight. That's how much animosity is there. That's how deep this thing is.

"Every punch is going to mean something for over 17 years so I've got to land a lot of combinations."

Hopkins called his first fight with Jones "a night that changed both of our lives. That fight there helped sculpture my psyche and character."

Jones sees no tarnishing of his legacy by continuing to fight beyond his prime.

"Ain't many of them who can do it as well as I still can so why should I not be doing it," Jones said. "I was smarter and slicker than him 17 years ago and I'm smarter and slicker than him now.

"I want to show him he's still not better than me. He has been hating me for 17 years because I beat him and he can go on hating me for another 17 years after I beat him again."

PBA: Tigers mangle Coffee Masters

MANILA, Philippines -- Coca-Cola demolished Barako Coffee, 94-74, for an auspicious start in the KFC-Philippine Basketball Association Fiesta Conference Wednesday night at the Araneta Coliseum.

James Penny scored a game-high 27 points but his defense on Coffee Energy Masters import Sammy Monroe spelled the difference to help the Tigers notched their opening game win.

“I told the boys, especially James (Penny), not to get affected by that what’s been said about (Sammy) Monroe,” said Coke mentor Bo Perasol.

“Defensively we really planned how to minimize Monroe, as well as the rest of the team, and we were able to get him out of his rhythm in the first half. Although he (Monroe) managed to score, some of it them not were significant in their game,” he added.

Gary David added 17 points while Asi Taulava chipped in 11 for Coke, which led from start to finish.

Monroe, who scored 39 points in 39 minutes in Barako Coffee’s 97-93 win over Sta. Lucia Realty, managed to finish with 25 markers but held to just 3 points in the opening quarter as Coke set the defensive tone early on him.

Richard Alonzo was the only other Barako Coffee player in double figures in scoring 10 for coach Junel Baculi, whose team dropped to a 1-1.

Beermen halt Express

Defending champion San Miguel Beer opened its title retention bid with a hard-earned 92-87 victory over Air21.

Gabe Freeman finished with 23 points and 19 rebounds for the Beermen, who almost blew a 10-point lead in the last 3 minutes of the game but San Miguel made crucial plays in the end to preserve the win.

SMB was holding an 84-74 lead when the Express, behind the efforts of Ronnie Matias, unloaded a 13-4 blast to close the gap at 87-88 with 1:11 left in the game.

But Anthony Washington hit two free throws off the foul of Keena Young and Arwind Santos blocked Beau Belga’s three-point attempt that led to Alex Cabagnot’s break-away lay-up to peg the final score.

Young led Air21 with 23 points and 21 rebounds.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

MPIC, Ayala team up with Lopezes for Angat plant

MANILA, Philippines - Two of the country's biggest conglomerates have teamed up with the Lopez family to bid for the 246-megawatt Angat hydroelectric plant in Norzagaray, Bulacan.

Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), Ayala Corp. and First Gen Corp. have announced a deal to jointly bid for the plant, a major supplier of power in the Luzon Grid.

This is the first foray of MPIC and Ayala into power generation. They are aligning themselves with the Lopez Group's First Gen, which is considered an expert in the industry, having been operating as an independent power producer over the last decade.

This is also the latest in the string of corporate rivalries in the country as the MPIC-Ayala-Lopez alliance will again be competing with diversifying conglomerate San Miguel Corp., which also confirmed plans to bid for Angat, among many other power assets it is eyeing.

The big players consider power generation as a potentially lucrative, high-growth sector as the country's power supply dwindles. Blackouts tend to result in more profits for power firms.

Bid through First Gen unit

Set to be auctioned in April, the Angat hydropower plant was commissioned between 1967 and 1968. It consists of 4 main units, each with a 50-megawatt capacity. The plant draws from the Angat Dam, which also supplies up to 97% of Metro Manila’s water supply.

In separate disclosures to the Philippine Stock Exchange, MPIC and Ayala said they would bid for Angat through First Gen Northern Energy Corp. (FGNEC). Previously, the two firms considered using Ayala's unit, Michigan Power Inc., as their corporate vehicle for the bid.

FGNEC is a subsidiary of First Gen, the Lopez family's primary holding firm for power generation and energy-related businesses.

"MPI (Michigan Power), through a written notice to PSALM, withdrew its participation from the bidding earlier today," MPIC said.

PSALM or the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. is the agency tasked to privatize government power assets.

MPIC and Ayala said they will each subscribe to 250,000 common shares of FGNEC with a par value of P1 per share.

"The subscriptions will result in First Gen, AC and MPIC each owning 33 1/3% of the outstanding capital stock of FGNEC," First Gen said in another disclosure, noting that the subscriptions have been fully paid.

First entry

The alliance marks the first attempt of both MPIC and Ayala, which are rivals in the telecommunications and water utility sectors, to enter the highly regulated power generation business.

MPIC is a sister company of phone giant conglomerate Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.

MPIC, itself an infrastructure, health services, and power giant, controls Maynilad Water Services Inc., the concessionaire for the west zone of the country's capital, Metro Manila.

On the other hand, Ayala owns Globe Telecom Inc., the second biggest telecommunications player in the country, and Manila Water Co. Inc., the concessionaire for Metro Manila's east zone.

MPIC's foray into power generation is strategic since it owns a sizeable stake in power distributor Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).

The company's chairman, businessman Manuel Pangilinan, earlier said they would use Meralco as their vehicle for future investments in power generation to make it a "complete" utility company.

Under the law, a power distributor can source 50% of the energy it sells from companies it owns or from affiliates.

Out of the 5,000 MW of electricity Meralco distributes per year, 1,250 megawatts are supplied by the Lopezes' First Gen, whose parent First Philippine Holdings Corp. used to control the power retailer. This leaves between 1,000 megawatts to 1,250 megawatts that can be sourced from MPIC's future power assets.

Ayala, meanwhile, was passive in the mergers and acquisitions game for some time as its officials said they would like to focus on growing their core businesses. But recently, the company announced that the passage of the Philippine Renewable Energy Act, which gives fiscal incentives and priority at the grid to operators of renewable energy power plants, has encouraged them to venture into power generation.

Up against San Miguel

The MPIC-Ayala-Lopez alliance is up against diversifying conglomerate San Miguel, which has been selling core food and drink assets to enter into high-growth industries.

Earlier, analysts said the tie-up for Angat was aimed at protecting MPIC's and Ayala's water distribution ventures since San Miguel had planned to develop the P50-billion Laiban Dam project as an alternative source of water for Metro Manila.

MPIC—which has been particularly viewed to be in neck-and-neck race against San Miguel because they have been eyeing the same businesses—expressed opposition to the dam project, citing its controversial take or pay scheme.

Previously, MPIC and San Miguel were in a battle for control of Meralco, and were both interested in the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, the country's longest toll road.

In Meralco, MPIC and its affiliates hold a 40% stake. San Miguel, on the other hand, owns another 27%.

San Miguel, meantime, has been more aggressive in acquiring power generation assets despite its lack of experience in this business.

It has acquired 2,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the past year, plans to build 3,000 megawatts of capacity in 3 to 5 years and may also buy power distributors, it recently said. The company will also bid for more state-owned power plants.

Higher electricity prices

Power generation firms stand to be beneficiaries of the spike in wholesale retail prices of energy because of higher demand and current low supply, analysts said.

This year, dry weather due to the El Nino weather pattern has hit hydroelectricity production in the Philippines, leading to 8-hour long power outages in the southern island of Mindanao, and brownouts even in the capital Manila.

Meralco already warned of a significant hike in charges for March due to higher costs for the power supplied by generation companies.

Pakistani kidnap victim escapes in Maguindanao

MANILA, Philippines - Members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) on Wednesday night turned over a Pakistani national to local authorities after escaping from his kidnappers in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindan province.

Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema, the current chairman of the MNLF, said he received a report that Pakistani national Waseem Sajjad Kahan came to Camp Ibrahim in Barangay Dalican claiming that he had just escaped from his kidnappers.

Sema said MNLF members at Camp Ibrahim asked for his help because they could not understand Kahan's language. He said that the Pakistani national tried to speak with the MNLF members in English.

Sema rushed to the MNLF camp to fetch the Pakistani national's presence and turned him over to the authorities on Wednesday night.

The mayor said that according to Kahan, he had just collected money from debtors at the Dalican public market and was already on his way to Cotabato City on board a motorcycle when he was flagged down and snatched by unidentified gunmen.

Sema said that according to Kahan, the kidnappers asked him to tell his relatives in Sultan Kudarat town to produce P6 million for his release.

He said that according to the Pakistani national, he told his kidnappers that he would not be able to produce P6 million, and instead gave the gunmen the cash he was carrying amounting to at least P25,000.

The kidnappers, however, still refused to release the Pakistani national, the local chief executive said.

He said Kahan was able to slip out of the kidnappers' lair and ran to Camp Ibrahim.

Sema said the police have started an investigation to identify the Pakistani national's kidnappers.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Oscars begin with wins for 'Precious'

HOLLYWOOD - Gritty independent drama "Precious" won two Oscars here Sunday as the 82nd Academy Awards got under way at Hollwyood's Kodak Theater in front of a galaxy of stars.

Director Lee Daniels's film about an obese, illiterate, sexually abused teenager from Harlem won Oscars for best supporting actress and best adapted screenplay at a new-look awards show.

Mo'Nique won the supporting actress prize for her performance as an abusive parent, making her only the only the fourth black actress in history to win an Oscar following Hattie McDaniel, Whoopi Goldberg and Halle Berry.

The 42-year-old paid tribute to trailblazing "Gone With the Wind" actress McDaniel in her acceptance speech.

"I want to thank Miss Hattie McDaniel for enduring all that she had to so that I would not have to," Mo'Nique said.

In other early awards, Austria's Christoph Waltz scooped the first honors of the night in the best supporting actor category for his portrayal of a sadistic Nazi officer in Quentin Tarantino's World War Two film "Inglourious Basterds."

"Oscar and Penelope -- that's uber bingo," a delighted Waltz said after receiving the famous golden statuette from Spanish siren Penelope Cruz.

"There's no way I can ever thank you enough but I can start right now -- thank you," Waltz added.

"Up," about an elderly gent who ties balloons to his home to live his dream of seeing the wilds of South America, took the award for best animated feature.

Earlier hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin kicked off the proceedings with a wise-cracking intro which saw several nominees introduced from the audience.

Spotting "The Hurt Locker" director Kathryn Bigelow, nominated for best director alongside ex-husband James Cameron, Martin couldn't resist a gag.

"She was so pleased to be nominated with (Cameron) she sent him a gift basket with a timer," Martin said.

"He reciprocated by sending her a Toyota," Baldwin chimed.

All eyes are on the David v Goliath battle between the low-budget "The Hurt Locker" -- made for around 11 million dollars -- and "Avatar," which cost around 500 million dollars and is the highest-grossing movie in history with earnings of over 2.5 billion dollars to date.

Both films have nine nominations each, including best picture and best director. Bigelow's film about a US Army bomb disposal squad has emerged as favorite after winning a series of awards leading into the Oscars.

The movie won an early Oscar Sunday for best original screenplay, with writer Mark Boal paying tribute to US troops in his acceptance speech.

"I would also like to thank and dedicate this to the troops, the 115,000, who are still in Iraq, 120,000 (in) Afghanistan, and the more than 30,000 wounded and 4,000 who have not made it home," Boal said.

Front-runners have emerged in most of the acting categories, but Sandra Bullock could face a stronger-than-expected challenge in the best actress race.

Bullock, who won a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award for her part in the drama "The Blind Side," faces competition from Meryl Streep ("Julie & Julia"), Carey Mulligan ("An Education") and Gabourey Sidibe ("Precious"), who was nominated for US cinema's top honor for an actress in her debut film.

In the best actor category, popular veteran Jeff Bridges is expected to claim his first Oscar at the fifth attempt.

The 60-year-old has already snatched prizes at the Golden Globes and SAG awards for his heart-wrenching portrayal of a washed up country singer in "Crazy Heart."

Other nominees include George Clooney for "Up In the Air," Morgan Freeman for "Invictus," Jeremy Renner for "The Hurt Locker" and Britain's Colin Firth for "A Single Man."


The Oscars will be replayed on VELVET CHANNEL 53 on March 8 at 7 p.m. with an encore telecast on March 13 at 7 p.m.

Pacquiao vows new technique vs Clottey

MANILA, Philippines – With or without the alleged injury, 7-division champ Manny Pacquiao said he is all set for his world title defense against Joshua Clottey, adding that he has a "new technique" against the Ghanaian.

Pacquiao said all he is waiting for is the fight date itself which is on March 13 (March 14 in Manila).

"Right now 100% conditioned na tayo, ready na tayo sa fight. Maintain na lang sa kondisyon," said the Filipino champ, who will be defending his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown.

He also said the alleged injury he earlier experienced will not affect his performance against the bigger Clottey.

"Wala namang injury, sore lang ang muscle," he said.

The power-puncher from General Santos City also claimed that he has the answer to Clottey’s larger build—strong punches and skillful defense.

“We’ve created a new technique,” said Pacquiao. “It’s going to be exciting, and a lot of action in the ring.”

The Pacquiao-Clottey fight, dubbed as “The Event” will take place at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Clottey, for his part, said he is ready to take away Pacquiao’s welterweight title—and Manny’s Filipino fans are afraid that the Ghanaian meant it.

“I’m very, very, hundred percent for sure that I am the only one who can beat him!” Clottey said at a training session for the press at New York’s Kingsway Gym on Thursday.

Lenny de Jesus, Clottey’s trainer, believes Pacquiao is going to pass his prime.

“Pacquiao has been at the top for five years, I think his time is coming. Clottey is ready to fight tomorrow,” De Jesus claimed.

Fight seen to go until late rounds

Pacquiao fans in McAllen, Texas are not taking the fighter from Ghana lightly. Many believe Clottey can bring the scheduled 12-round boxing match to its later rounds.

“Mga ten. Bagsak yan si Clottey,” said Boboy Yongson, one of Pacquiao’s fans.

“I think the fight is gonna go the distance. Pacquiao will win by a close decision,” said boxing promoter Anthony Cavasos.

Foreign boxers also shared their own prediction regarding the outcome of the fight.

Junior lightweight boxer Jorge Luis Teron of the US, ranked 12th by the Word Boxing Association (WBA), said Clottey’s good defense will allow him to hold out: “It’s going to be real hard for Manny to knock him out. I think it might go to a decision.”

National American Boxing Federation reigning lightweight title holder Brandon Rios, also of the US, is confident for a Pacquiao victory before Round 12: “Clottey is a good fighter; he takes a lot of punches. I see a win later, maybe a knockout (for Pacquiao)."

Saturday, 6 March 2010

US F1 omitted from 2010 F1 entry list

(CNN) -- Motor Sport's governing body, the FIA, have formally confirmed the entry list for the 2010 Formula One season -- with potential newcomers US F1 omitted from the grid.

The financially-troubled team had asked the FIA if they could miss the first four races of the season in order to attract extra sponsorship, but have instead been told that they must re-apply if they are to be on the grid for the following season.

The official entry list shows 12 teams and 24 drivers -- two teams more than last season.

Three new teams are lining up -- Lotus, Virgin Racing and Hispania Racing -- with Toyota deciding to leave the sport.

There are also two team name changes. Last year's winning constructor's Brawn GP have been taken over by Mercedes, while BMW Sauber have reverted back to being the Sauber team, although they have to retain the BMW title for this season due to legal obligations.

Meanwhile, there is also no place on the grid for the proposed Serbian-backed Stefan GP team, who had been hoping to gain a late entry in place of US F1.

An official FIA statement read: "The US F1 Team have indicated they will not be in a position to participate in the 2010 FIA Formula One world championship.

"Having considered the various options, the FIA confirms it is not possible for a replacement team to be entered for the championship at this late stage.

"In the coming days the FIA will announce details of a new selection process to identify candidates to fill any vacancies existing at the start of the 2011 season."

US F1 have faced a race against time to have their car ready for the grid, after a number of sponsors opted to pull out the project.

Production of the car had been stopped with the team struggling to pay wages, resulting in a number of staff choosing to leave.

Team principal Ken Anderson is yet to comment on whether he will attempt to make the grid for the 2011 season.

The decision leaves Argentinian Jose Maria Lopez, who had already been offered a drive with US F1, without a team.

Tuesday also saw the final driver appointment confirmed, with Karun Chandhok becoming the second Indian to compete in the sport having been named by Hispania Racing.

The 26-year-old follows in the footsteps of Narain Karthikeyan, who had one season with Jordan in 2005.

There will be four world champions on the grid; Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso, while 11 of the 24 drivers have experienced winning a grand prix.

Official 2010 Formula One grid:

1. Jenson Button GB McLaren Mercedes

2. Lewis Hamilton GB McLaren Mercedes

3. Michael Schumacher Ger Mercedes GP

4. Nico Rosberg Ger Mercedes GP

5. Sebastian Vettel Ger Red Bull Racing

6. Mark Webber Aus Red Bull Racing

7. Felipe Massa, Brz Ferrari

8. Fernando Alonso Sp Ferrari

9. Rubens Barrichello Brz Williams

10. Nico Hulkenberg Ger Williams

11. Robert Kubica, Pol Renault

12. Vitaly Petrov Rus Renault

13. Adrian Sutil Ger Force India

14. Vitantonio Liuzzi It Force India

15. Sebastien Buemi Swi Toro Rosso

16. Jaime Alguersuari Sp Toro Rosso

17. Jarno Trulli It Lotus Racing

18. Heikki Kovalainen Fin Lotus Racing

19. Karun Chandhok Ind Hispanic Racing

20. Bruno Senna Brz Hispanic Racing

21. Pedro de la Rosa Sp BMW Sauber

22. Kamui Kobayashi Jpn BMW Sauber

23. Timo Glock Ger Virgin Racing

24. Luca di Grassi Brz Virgin Racing

Pacquiao hurts Roach's chin in gym

HOLLYWOOD – For 15 rounds non-stop, Manny Pacquiao went for the kill.

And a good number of times, he caught his master, Freddie Roach, on the chin or just too hard on the body, and made his two-hour workout at the Wild Card Gym look like the real thing.

“Sorry coach, sorry,” said Pacquiao as he backed off after one of his right hooks glanced the chin of his trainer.

But Roach, who celebrated his 50th birthday Friday by putting on his three-inch body armor and working the mitts with Pacquiao, really didn’t mind. He’s gotten used to it anyway. Even if it hurts.

“He hurts me and knocks the wind off me sometimes,” he said.

But it’s all part of his job, and Roach would like to see Pacquiao do the same against Joshua Clottey on March 13 at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. In fact, he sees Pacquiao winning by knockout.

“Kill the body,” was Roach’s constant reminder during their 15-round session with the mitts. He believes that Clottey, bigger but older, has never been hit to the body as hard as Pacquiao would hit him.

On top of the ring, they worked on the different angles and on running rings around Clottey and at the same time planting solid blows to the side of the body and to the head which they hope would work.

“There’s nothing he can do when you’re not standing in front of him,” said Freddie during breaks that never lasted more than five seconds.

“There’s nothing he can do. Take advantage of that.”

They were almost whispering to each other as they map out the plan, always looking for something new, always looking for ways to make things better and making things worse for the opponent.

“We’re not going to leave a pattern,” said Roach on top of the ring. He wants Pacquiao to keep Clottey guessing all night, guessing where his punches are coming from and guessing what his next move would be.

Pacquiao was just having a good time on the ring when Roach, after 15 rounds non-stop, said it’s time to call it a day.

“Uno-mas. Uno-mas (One more. One more),” Pacquiao kept on repeating.

But Roach would have none of it.

“When will you ever get tired? Go get water. I need to rest,” he said.

And then it was over.

“Masaya kami (We’re happy),” said Pacquiao, who earlier in the morning ran up Mount Lee, the tallest peak in Los Angeles, and ended up looking down at the very famous landmark, the Hollywood Sign.

“Lumampas pa ako doon sa sign. That was my longest run in training and it took me more than an hour to get to the top. It was like running a marathon uphill. Grabe talaga,” he said.

Notes: The birthday song filled the Wild Card Gym after the two-hour workout, and Manny Pacquiao presented Freddie Roach with a birthday cake. Roach blew the candles and made a wish: Knock Clottey out...Each of the 87 persons who joined Pacquiao’s weight loss contest had to sign a waiver prepared by Dr. Allan Recto just to make sure that the boxing superstar won’t be held liable if something happens to any of them. Pacquiao has offered $3,000 to anyone who’d lose 15 percent of their body weight inside three weeks. Dr. Recto said it’s no joke. Most of those who joined the contest, you see, are non-athletes, just plain individuals, and trying to lose so much weight in so little time may cause them harm. Some of them are said to be starving themselves to death just to get the money. Based on Dr. Recto’s official list, there are those needing to lose as little as 15 lb and one as much as 40 lb. “We prepared the waiver to make sure no one sues Manny if something bad happens to him or her,” said Dr. Recto. As an icing on the cake, Pacquiao has offered another $20,000 to the one who will lose the most in weight, percentage wise. The final weigh-in is set Sunday. Get the ambulance ready.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Pinoys safe after Taiwan quake: official

MANILA, Philippines – The situation of more than 75,000 Filipinos based in Taiwan is being monitored, after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Kaohsiung County Thursday morning.

Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Resident Representative Antonio Basilio said his office is now coordinating with its offices throughout Taiwan to ensure that all Filipinos are safe and accounted for.

"Fortunately, Taiwan has heightened preparedness for natural disasters like this and its building codes to help ensure structural integrity against earthquakes are among the world's most stringent," said Basilio.

The quake occurred around 8 a.m. and its epicenter was located in Chia Hsien, Kaohsiung County, some 45 minutes car ride from Kaohsiung City where MECO maintains an office.

The Taiwan government reported that the quake was also felt in varying degrees of between 1.0 and 4.0 throughout the rest of Taiwan.

Although no major structural damage was reported, the Kaohsiung MRT and several train routes serving the Taiwan Eastern Coast remain suspended until further notice.

Textile factory fire

Meanwhile, MECO also reported that a fire hit a factory and its employees’ dormitory in Tainan on Thursday.

He said the 150 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) employed by the Everest Textile Factory are all safe.

"We are coordinating with their employer to ensure that they are all adequately taken care of," said Basilio.

Pacquiao downplays ‘leg injury’

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – Seven-division champ Manny Pacquiao has denied he sustained a serious leg injury while preparing for his welterweight title defense against Ghana’s Joshua Clottey.

Pacquiao, who is known to undergo brutal training when preparing for a fight, dismissed the “slight pain” as a mere sore muscle in his leg.

"Wala namang injury, sore lang ang muscle kasi," he said.

Pacquiao said that made changes on their strategy to pick on Clottey's defense.

"Binago namin [ang strategy] para ma-apply namin sa fight. 'Yung mga muscles [tuloy] na hindi nagagalaw medyo sumakit," he explained.

The Pacman, who will defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title against Clottey on March 13, hosted his final press conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday as his training camp began to wind down.

Pacquiao showed off his footwork, showing no signs of the reported leg injury.

"It was just shin splints. It's not really an injury. It's more of a nuisance,” said 4-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach.

Pacquiao has already faced 10 sparring partners in the course of his 7-week training. He domindated most of them.

"Right now 100% conditioned na tayo, ready na tayo sa fight. Maintain na lang sa kondisyon," he said.

The Filipino champ is the overwhelming favorite against Clottey, a former International Boxing Federation (IBF) welterweight champion. The fight will take place at the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas Texas.

He said he and Pacquiao have been studying Clottey’s tapes to spot his strengths and weaknesses. They have also been working on moves.

“He (Clottey) fights people with different styles, of course. But his habits are there and we can take advantage,” Roach told Fox Sports.

Roach said the only thing his fighter needs to be concerned about is the Ghanaian’s uppercuts.

People Power does not live on today, say social web users

MANILA, Philippines - This week marks the 24th anniversary of the 1986 People Power Revolution.

From February 22 to February 25, 1986, a series of peaceful protests along Epifanio De Los Santos Avenue led to the deposition of the Marcos regime and the restoration of democracy to the Philippines. The non-violent demonstrations were the first of their kind, with many crediting People Power for sparking similar movements for democracy around the world.

So we asked, given the current political climate, have Filipinos truly lived the lessons of the EDSA Revolution?

Among netizens, the answer was a resounding ‘No’.

Facebook user, Annecy Parumog, blames what she says is the Filipino tendency to easily forget the past. She says, Filipinos must remain vigilant and should not settle into complacency. @PortiaShylock believes that the conditions that spurred the EDSA Revolution still exist in the Philippines today – namely, the abuse of power, lack of accountability, and disunity. @lyleatienza, however, was quick to note that much of the People Power generation has died or migrated overseas, and the new generation does not understand the significance of the movement.

Referring to the country’s level of political maturity, @forg9587 says EDSA Dos, EDSA Tres, and other attempts to replicate the original movement "speak volumes". @iangomez similarly admonishes Filipinos for electing the wrong leaders and "'People Power[-ing]' them out of office." In doing so, he says, Filipinos are misusing collective action.

Meanwhile, one Facebook user, Bert Salon, believes the Philippines was better off during the Marcos administration, and that EDSA replaced a dictator with "a bunch of corrupt politicians".

But amid the generally glum discussion, @carolinian0612 added an optimistic note. She tweeted that while she experienced neither martial law under Marcos nor witnessed the valor of those who gathered on EDSA in 1986, she is thankful to the Filipinos who fought for democracy. @justinecastillo shared these sentiments, noting that "EDSA 1 was about choosing democracy". She added, the fact that we can openly discuss issues is proof of its success.

The 1986 People Power Revolution thrust the Philippines into the global political limelight for showing the world just how far the young country would go for democracy.

And with May's polls looming, Filipinos are again clamoring for change.

Add to the discussion by tweeting us at @ANCALERTS, becoming a fan of our Facebook fan page, ANC 24/7, or posting a video response on our YouTube account, ANCALERTS, and tell us if you think 1986’s struggle for democracy still lives on today.