Overseas voter registration continues to set new record

The Department of Foreign Affairs – Overseas Voting Secretariat (DFA-OVS) announced that a new milestone has been established by garnering 105,333 new OV registrants, surpassing the previous high of 103,048 set over the same period during 2014-2015 registration drive.

The registration started last December 1, 2016 and will end on September 30, 2018.

The overseas voter registration in preparation for the 2016 elections netted a cumulative total of 1,376,067 active registered overseas voters. The 826,881 new registrants for the 2016 elections, was more than a 100 percent increase over the 398,554 new registrants for the 2013 elections.

Of the almost 1.4 million registered overseas voters, 590,440 were in the Middle East and Africa, 334,215 in the Asia Pacific, 263,316 in the Americas, 138,757 in Europe, and 49,339 were sea-based.

The attainable target for this registration period is 1.1 million OV registrants, which would net a cumulative total of 2,130,000 active registered voters for the coming national elections.

All Filipino citizens who expect to be abroad from April 13 – May 13, 2019 during the overseas voting period for the 2019 Elections, at least 18 years old on May 13, 2019, and not otherwise disqualified by law, may register as an overseas voter. Ffor an updated list please go to www.dfa-oavs.gov.ph or www.comelec.gov.ph.

Close to 9,000 EJK deaths is ‘false news’, Malacañang says

Malacañang on Friday dismissed persistent reports claiming that close to 9,000 have been killed in the government’s war against illegal drugs as “false news,” urging the US State Department not to rush to judgement over the number of alleged extrajudicial killings (EJKs).

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Philippine government share the concern of US Assistant Secretary of State for Southeast Asia Patrick Murphy, who has been quoted in the media saying that there are elements of the drug war that are operating outside the rule of law.

On Thursday, Murphy reportedly said that the US government is deeply concerned by the growing number of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

He also urged the Philippines to follow up on its commitment to investigate EJKs, whether they are committed by law enforcement, or of a vigilante nature.

Abella pointed out that since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed power in July 1, 2016, the police has accounted for 6,011 homicide cases under investigation — formerly called deaths under investigation.

“Of this number, only 1,398 cases are found to be drug-related contrary to news reports that there are now close to 9,000 killed connected with the campaign against illegal drugs,” he said.

“On the number of extrajudicial deaths, the persistent news reports of 7,000 killed, which is now being said to be close to 9,000, is false news,” Abella said.

The Palace official also pointed out that law enforcers and local authorities always follow the rule of law and due process in the anti-drug war and has remained committed in investigating any and all alleged cases of EJK.

“Local authorities follow operational protocols and the proper enforcement of our laws requires the use of reasonable force merited by the attendant circumstances. Those who breach procedures are made to answer before the law,” he said.

(With reports from PNA)

China to probe alleged harassment of Filipino fishermen in South China Sea

China said it will look into reports that Filipino fishermen have been driven away allegedly by the Chinese Coast Guard from Union Bank in the South China Sea, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Friday.

”I honestly do not know anything about what you said. You yourself mentioned that the vessels are unidentified, and all sides are in the process of verifying the situation. China also needs to check on that,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said during a press conference.

The Philippines’ foreign affairs and national defense departments are still confirming media reports on the harassment of the Filipino fishermen.

Lu said China will continue to work with the Philippine side to “properly” resolve the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea maritime and territorial dispute under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte.

”Our position on the South China Sea issue is consistent and clear. We would go on working with the Philippine side to properly deal with relevant maritime issues and create favorable conditions for the sound and steady development of bilateral relations,” he said.

He reiterated that the bilateral relations between the Philippines and China have turned around and started to improve quickly “with all-around cooperation moving forward steadily”.

(With reports from PNA)

Review: From more screen to price tag

aP: Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 phone is stunning. But its $100 (Dh367) price hike is hard to swallow.

The S8 is for those who want elegance – and are willing to pay for it, with several refinements that, totalled up, are indeed worth more than $100.

SCREENS TO THE EDGES

After spontaneous fires that forced the recall of the Galaxy Note 7 , Samsung is playing it safe on the battery and subjecting the S8 to tighter inspections.

Instead, it’s pushing the boundaries on the phone’s display. Samsung minimized the phone frame and got rid of a physical home button to free up space for an “infinity display,” a screen that seems to flow right into the phone’s curved left and right sides.

The 5.8-inch S8 and the 6.2-inch S8 Plus both have nearly 15 per cent more display space than last year’s comparable models. But the phones themselves aren’t wider. In fact, the phones feel more comfortable thanks to sides that curve around to the back; last year’s curved S7 Edge model feels boxy by comparison.

ALL ABOUT THE BATTERY

The S8 and S8 Plus have more physical space inside, but Samsung used it to give the battery more breathing room while keeping its capacity roughly the same as last year.

Though a larger display drains the battery faster, my tests of streaming video found that the new phones consumed power more slowly than last year’s models. And even with constant use — taking photos, watching video and playing music and podcasts — the new phones still made it to bedtime with power to spare. Samsung credits software and chip improvements.

UNLOCKING THE PHONES

Like the doomed Note 7, the S8 has an iris scanner to let you unlock the phone by looking at it — at least in theory. But you have to swipe the screen first and position it from your face at just the right distance.

The fingerprint scanner was faster and more convenient for unlocking the phone. But you have to be careful not to smudge the adjacent camera lens by mistake now that the scanner has been moved to the back.

FIRE THE ASSISTANT

Samsung is introducing a digital assistant called Bixby, but voice features intended to rival Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri aren’t ready yet. A reminder feature works, but seems paralyzed without voice dictations. Bixby will highlight appointments, trending stories and app suggestions, much as existing features on iPhones and other Android phones already offer.

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 hits stores

Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 went on sale over the counter in South Korea Friday as the world’s biggest smartphone maker seeks to move on from a disastrous handset recall that has hammered its once-stellar reputation.

The device, unveiled in New York last month and a challenge to Apple’s iPhone, is the firm’s first major launch since last year’s humiliating withdrawal of the Galaxy Note 7 over exploding batteries.

It also comes with vice-chairman Lee Jae-Yong and other executives on trial for bribery over their alleged role in the graft scandal that brought down former president Park Geun-Hye.

But the company’s profits are rising and the new phones have received good reviews, with more than one million pre-orders for the S8 and the larger S8+ in South Korea alone.

Shares in Samsung Electronics jumped more than 2.5 percent Friday, adding around $7 billion to its market capitalisation.

“Market reactions to the release of the S8 series are somewhat positive,” said Lee Seung-Woo of IBK Investment Securities.

Samsung could break the record 48.5 million unit sales it achieved with its S7 series, he added.

“Barring the weakening of the US dollar, Samsung’s second-quarter operating profit would reach 12 trillion won,” Lee said.

Pre-order deliveries began earlier this week, and in-store sales begin in the US and Canada later Friday, with the device due to be rolled out to around 50 more countries next week.

(With reports from AFP)

Wanna look like a hunk? Here’s how according to science

Life does not have to be hard for the plain-looking man looking for a possible mate.

There is scientific proof that creativity boosts a man’s attractiveness.

A study conducted by Christopher Watkins, a psychologist at Abertay University in Scotland, attests that creative guys who are not as good-looking may be seen by women as potential mates the way good-looking but less creative guys are perceived, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

“Creative guys with less attractive faces were almost identical in attractiveness to really good looking guys who were not as creative,” Watkins told AFP in a phone interview.

“Creativity is thought to be a signal that an individual can invest time and effort into a particular task or can see things in novel ways that may be useful for survival,” he added.

As far as the study is concerned, the same results cannot be said of the female gender.

Females who aren’t as good-looking but are creative don’t seem to get plus points as potential mates and are even perceived more negatively.

“Creative women with less attractive faces seem to be perhaps penalized in some way,” Watkins said.

Still, in the age of online dating where people swipe left or right depending on physical attractiveness, creative men who aren’t exactly hunks may be at a disadvantage.

“Certain platforms that we have now for dating might not be favorable for assessing people on more complex attributes,” Watkins explained.

Julia Roberts Named People’s ‘World’s Most Beautiful Woman’ for 5th time

Hollywood superstar Julia Roberts has been named People magazine’s World’s Most Beautiful Woman for a record fifth time.

The 49-year-old actress has not been given the coveted title in 26 years, and tells the publication that she’s “very flattered.”

Roberts says that she’s “currently peaking” in life, and gushes over her 14-year marriage to Danny Moder.

In a recent interview with Good Morning America, the Oscar winner also noted that she can’t wait to show her twins the movies she’s made.

“There’s nothing more thrilling than creating a piece of work and feeling like you have some triumph to bring home and lay at the feet of your family,” she explained. “”I can’t wait for my daughter to see My Best Friend’s Wedding. I mean, that will be sweet.”

Last year, Jennifer Aniston was named World’s Most Beautiful Woman, and coincidentally was starring alongside Roberts in the film Mother’s Day.

Dubai sees budget hotels, e-commerce sales boom

Mohamed Alabbar, regarded as a leading spokesperson of “corporate Dubai” and a close confidant of UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, reported that budget hotel is among the fastest growing business segment this year.

He also mentioned that sales through digital channels are advancing as well.

The chairman of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) biggest developer Emaar Properties said, “I am happy to share with you that our hotel segment Rove became a success story of the company.”

Emaar runs three Rove hotels in Dubai and plans to add another seven until 2020, the year when the Gulf Arab sheikhdom will host World Expo (a first in the Arab world).
Alabbar said “the budget hospitality sector is not only growing fast in our home market UAE, but we see similar developments in other countries like India, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain or Egypt. That is why we believe in expanding this segment.”
In the past, Emaar, the developer of the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa (829 meter) focused mostly on the affluent traveler with its five-star luxury hotel chain.
At the meeting, the Emaar chairman also said “We witness strong demand in sales through our e-commerce channels.”
Digital sales were not only rising in hotel bookings, but in all segments like residential and commercial property, said Alabbar.

Marrybrown celebrates 15 Years in UAE with Dh15 Anniversary Meals

Marrybrown, one of the leading Halal-certified quick service restaurant chains in UAE is celebrating 15 years of its successful operations in the country with a host of delicious offers to customers. Starting tomorrow, customers can enjoy 4 different meals on a special discounted rate of AED 15 per meal.

Presently, Marrybrown is operating from 8 outlets in UAE and planning to open 5 more during the current year. The chain, originally from Malaysia, has presence at leading malls and popular hangout places, and its recipes attract people across nationalities. The menu consisting of various combinations of Hotouch & Original MB Chicken, Chicken Fillets, Boneless Chicken with Rice and Curries, specialty beverages (Mojito’s) and desserts is well accepted beyond boundaries.  

The special offer is for limited period only and valid for dine-in, takeaway and home delivery. You can call 600-542-522 or visit www.marrybrownuae.com.

Where will we meet? The Coffee Club

Whether you are looking for a good spot to curl up and read your favorite book or sip a hot brewed coffee during your “me time days;” or hunting for a cozy place to meet a friend for some chit-chat and cheesecake or indulge for some English breakfast or full-course dinner, The Coffee Club has it all sorted for you.

Australian favorite, The Coffee Club’s philosophy is quite simple and that is to provide good food, great service, excellent coffee and the answer to “Where will I meet you?”
The Coffee Club has over 360 cafés in nine countries. They are known for serving a wide variety of international food and drink choices, and especially for their famous breakfast menu.

The Filipino Times
visited their calm spot in Golden Mile, Palm Jumeirah and we’ve list down some food items you can’t missed during your first visit.

The All-Day Breakfast Meal

How delightful is it that they serve an All-Day Breakfast meal? If you are up for some heavy big breakfast anytime of the day (we won’t judge you), order this meal. For Dh59, you get to have a big plate of cumberland sausages, veal bacon, scrambled eggs, cherry tomatoes, button mushrooms, ciabatta toast and hash brown.

Mains

If you are looking for a savory and flavorful dish while still being health conscious, we recommend you try Salmon Nicoise Pesto. It may come a bit pricey at Dh79 but every bit of the dish is worth it. From the food presentation, quality of ingredients, to the way it was prepared and the taste. It is superb. This dish is served with grilled salmon topped with The Coffee Club’s modern interpretation of the classic nicoise salad drizzled with fresh pesto sauce.

If the salmon dish is not enough, order their Classic Carbonara. You won’t get wrong with this. Though, it may sound a little cliché to order this, their version is just hard to resist. This spaghetti with bacon, garlic finished with cream, egg and parmesan cheese is quite a heavy and filling dish. It is good for sharing priced at Dh 46.

Some food items you can also try is their Strong Arm Angus Burger with Cheese and Bacon. This imported New Zealand angus beef burger topped with veal bacon, melted cheese with potato wedges on the side are good for late lunch or early dinner.

Something Sweet

We suggest you keep some appetite for pancakes, the fluffy ones. The pancakes served at The Coffee Club are similar to the ones served in Japan. The fluffy, jiggly Japanase-style pancakes. The taste sure didn’t disappoint. We tried both entries; the Coconut Pancake which is coconut infused pancakes served with caramelized banana and candied cashew nuts and the Pancake Stack served with blueberry puree, maple syrup, ice cream and a dash of cream. Don’t worry, it’s not too sweet. They are priced Dh 36 and Dh 38 respectively. If you opt for shakes, try one of our favorites, the Chocolate Brownie. Surprisingly, it is not too sweet and you can finish the entire glass (just don’t asked how much calorie intake you’ll get and you’ll just be fine.)

Drink coffee for a good cause

A trip to The Coffee Club is not as good without a cup of coffee. They have a variety of hot drinks from Espresso, Macchiato, Café Latte, Chai Latte, to mention a few, and the good news is when you buy UTZ Certified coffee, cocoa or tea you are helping build a better future. UTZ Certified stands for sustainable farming and better opportunities for farmers, their families and our planet. The UTZ program enables farmers to learn better farming methods, improve working conditions and take better care of their children and the environment.
Dine at any of their 15 stores in the UAE or have them delivered on your door step. Call at 04 344 3676 or check their Facebook page, The Coffee Club Middle East for more information.