Heaviest Rains

BEIJING (AP) - China's government says the heaviest rains to hit Beijing in six decades have killed at least 10 people. The torrential downpour Saturday night left low-lying streets flooded and knocked down trees.News reports said roofs of some buildings collapsed. The national weather bureau said Sunday that at least 10 people were killed in the Chinese capital but gave no details. Elsewhere, state media said four people were killed Saturday in the northern province of Shanxi when their truck was swept away by a flood-swollen river. Six people were killed by rain-triggered landslides in Sichuan province in the West.

Russia Joins

MOSCOW (AP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed the protocol for the country to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), capping an accession process that took 18 years. The signing announced Saturday by the Kremlin comes a week after parliament ratified the agreement. Russia had been the largest economy outside the global trade organization. Advocates say that joining the WTO will improve foreign investment and push Russian businesses. But thousands of Russian businesses are wary that the low import duties and caps on subsidies that are a condition of joining the WTO will hurt them.

Next President

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Powerful politician Pranab Mukherjee looked set to be elected India's new president on Sunday and analysts said the canny veteran could play a key role in steering the nation through testing times. Mukherjee, 76, a ruling Congress party loyalist, was the over-whelming favorite for the post of head of state after drawing broad support over rival Purno A. Sangma, 64, a former parliamentary speaker. The president is chosen by 4,896 state and parliamentary lawmakers and Mukherjee's success would mark a welcome victory for the embattled Congress, which is struggling with a string of graft scandals and a slowing economy.

Campaigns Limited

WASHINGTON (AP) - The deadly shootings at a movie theater in Colorado have briefly silenced the presidential campaign, prompting both President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney to cut short their schedules and pull advertising in the state out of respect for the victims and their families. Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address that he hopes everyone takes time this weekend ``for prayer and reflection; for the victims of this terrible tragedy, for the people who knew them and loved them, for those who are still struggling to recover.''

Foreign Accounts

CARACAS (AFP) - Venezuela will allow the opening of foreign currency bank accounts, the South American country's central bank said. The move, announced Friday in the Official Gazette, applies to both individuals and companies. ''It simplifies the system,'' Central Bank director Armando Leon told the newspaper El Universal. The measure is also aimed at foreign firms involved in public projects. Venezuela has had strict foreign exchange controls since 2003 and regulates access to US dollars. ''You could say it's positive but it does not change the concrete reality,'' analyst Luis Vincente Leon, president of Datanalisis, told AFP.

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  • US missile cruiser docks at Subic
    US missile cruiser docks at Subic

    A US Navy missile cruiser has dropped anchor in Subic Bay as part of “routine port call,” amid rising tension in the West Philippine Sea stirred by China’s island building activities and other threatening moves by its forces. The arrival of the Ticonderoga-class missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG-67) at the Subic Bay Freeport in Olongapo City yesterday was “just a routine port visit for ship replenishment and routine maintenance of shipboard system,” said Philippine Navy Public Affairs Office …

  • Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño
    Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño

    The agriculture and power sectors, as well as the general public should brace for a prolonged El Niño phenomenon that could further reduce water supply for electricity and irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned yesterday. Flaviana Hilario, acting deputy administrator for research and development of PAGASA, said the El Niño condition is expected to intensify from weak to moderate by August this year. Anthony Lucero, …

  • China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row
    China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row

    The US should help “cool down” the Philippines and realize that its meddling in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute would only stir tensions, a Chinese newspaper reported. “Washington should know its meddling in the South China Sea has been destabilizing the region. The US has vowed not to take sides in the territorial dispute, which involves China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. …

  • No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests
    No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests

    K to 12 is the fruit of years of comprehensive consultations involving different sectors in education,” Aquino said during the launching of the program at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City. Organized by the Department of Education (DepEd), the launch was attended by teachers, students and representatives from different stakeholders supportive of the K to 12 program. It was held two years after the signing of Republic Act 10533, or the Enhanced Basic Education …

  • MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t
    MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t

    The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) maintained its bid for completion of the tripartite review of the implementation of the peace agreement with the Philippine government in 1996. The MNLF’s desire to put consensual closure to the tripartite effort was relayed by its leaders to Sayed El-Masry, the special envoy of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), during the annual foreign ministers conference in Kuwait last Thursday. The MNLF peace agreement with the government in Sept. 2, …

  • Noy to raise sea dispute issue with Abe
    Noy to raise sea dispute issue with Abe

    President Aquino is expected to raise the West Philippine Sea dispute during his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan next week. However, there is no word yet if the Philippines will specifically ask Tokyo to join calls for China to stop its massive reclamation activities in disputed waters. Aquino will leave for Tokyo on June 2 for a state visit until June 5. …

  • CHED releases wrong data on tuition hike
    CHED releases wrong data on tuition hike

    The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) appears to have released erroneous data on the allowed tuition and other fee increases in Metro Manila for the incoming academic year. On the list of the 51 approved higher education institutions (HEI) allowed to impose hikes, CHED pegged the average increase in tuition at P32.34 per unit and the average increase in other fees at P34.79. However, a Philippine STAR re-computation showed that the actual average approved tuition increases in Metro Manila …

  • Leni Robredo may run for senator
    Leni Robredo may run for senator

    The widow of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo admitted that running for higher office in 2016 had crossed her mind. Camarines Sur Third District Rep. Leni Robredo said she is focused on her re-election, but there is always the possibility that she would seek higher office. “There is always that possibility… because the filing (of certificate of candidacy) is in October yet,” Robredo said in an interview after her speech during the 23rd Girl Scouts of the Philippines Council …

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