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CAB looks into Cebu Pacific flight cancellations

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, April 29th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said on Monday it is currently looking into Cebu Pacific’s cancellation of more than 40 flights since Sunday (April 28).

CAB executive director Atty. Carmelo Arcilla said they are probing the factors and circumstances that led to the cancellations.

“We are now in the process of evaluating the incident and determine the circumstances that led to this,” Arcilla said.

Cebu Pacific earlier announced in an advisory that dozens of their flights have been canceled from April 28 to 30 because of limited operational conditions, particularly in their Manila hub in Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

READ: Several flights in Cebu Pacific cancelled

Cebu Pacific spokesperson Charo Logarta-Lagamon told UNTV News and Rescue in an interview that they are facing operational limitations due to different factors, including several damaged aircraft and heavy traffic that prevented flights from taking off and landing on time.

Lagamon added that three of their aircraft were damaged due to bird strikes.

The temporary reduction of flights, she said, is necessary to minimize the disruption and to restore the network route to its normal state.

“Yung ruta na tinatahak ng bawat eroplano and because it affects yung nga ruta yung nga timing yung nga schedule nabubulunan ang aming network,” she said.

“Wala kaming ibang choice, masakit man sa aming kalooban we have to pulldown those flights para hindi na lumaki pa at lumala pa yung problema ng malawakang mga delay at cancellations,” she added.

At least 9,000 passengers are affected by flight cancellations based on Cebu Pacific’s estimate.

The airline management has apologized for the inconvenience caused by the cancellations, and assured it is extending “every possible help” to passengers.

Affected travelers may rebook flights within 30 days from the original flight schedule, free of charge; get a full refund or place the full cost of the ticket in a travel fund.

Passengers may also re-route to and from alternate airports for travel within 30 days, subject to availability of seats.

Meanwhile, aside from Cebu Pacific, the CAB is also monitoring other airlines that also sought permission to cancel flights. These include Skyjet, Philippine Airlines, and Air Asia. – Robie de Guzman (with reports from Joan Nano)

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Death toll rises to 12 in southwest China earthquake

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Courtesy: China Central Television (CCTV)

Twelve people died and another 125 were injured as of 08:30 Tuesday after two earthquakes hit southwest China’s Sichuan Province on Monday night, according to China’s Ministry of Emergency Management.

A 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit Changning County of Sichuan’s Yibin City at 22:55 Monday and another 5.1-magnitude earthquake occurred in Yibin’s Gong County at 23:36 Monday, according to local authorities. Ten villages and towns have been severely affected by the earthquakes.

“The earthquakes also damaged some houses, roads, power and communication facilities,” said Secretary General of the Yibin government Li Tinggen at a Tuesday press conference.

Li said Yibin has started an emergency response and 2,016 rescuers have been dispatched to alleviate the disaster.

“The city and counties quickly allocated all kinds of relief supplies from their disaster relief material repositories to affected villages and towns. At the initial stage, 450 tents, 5,300 quilts and 1,500 folding beds have been sent to affected areas,” Li said.

Yibin has started evacuation and relocation of local people and carried out medical aid for injured ones, Li said.

“After the earthquakes, the city and counties quickly dispatched 15 vehicles and 61 medical specialists with first aid equipment to the quake-stricken areas in order to treat the wounded.

All health centers of villages and towns in the epicenters conducted medical treatment for injured ones immediately after preliminary safety check of their buildings,” Li said. (REUTERS)

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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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