Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Grand Tour - Episode 10

The Grand Tour Episode 10

The tenth episode of Amazon's original motoring show, The Grand Tour, sees the trio coming up with an idea to submerged a scrapped car body under the sea in order to become a new home for the fishes, having drawn inspiration from a certain move done by a certain nation to submerged an old ship to make a new home for fisheries due to the ocean's coral shortage because of the so-called global warming.

With the tropical island of Barbados is the main stage for this experiment, the gang are pulling the stops to turn the scrapped metal into a new aquarium for the fishes. Sadly, the only thing they done so far are messing up the popular vacation spot for tourists. Still, after several ruckus later, as well as having four scrapped cars gone to complete waste, the scrapped Land Rover body managed to be submerged successfully, accomplishing their so-called environmental mission.

Before that, Jeremy Clarkson goes to Wales to try out the brand new Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Verde sports saloon and then took it for a spin round the Eboladrome. Then, AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson is the latest casualty of the show's Celebrity Braincrash segment.

Bubble Gang - January 13, 2017 #BGBagongMaid

In the January 13, 2017 episode of Bubble Gang...

- Kasambahay gags

- The vocabulary of boys and girls are examined

- Mas Pinabonggang Sumbong Sumbong Kay Bonggang Bongbong takes on people livestreaming themselves while covering their faces, people reading posts about their favorite celebs and then add greetings, and people taking pics and vids during an emergency situation.

- Men fighting with words

- Hugot lines in magic shows

- Today's Patikim Ni Kim recipe is banana split.

- A movie with a dog slaughtered on it was explained...

- The warrior enters the cafe

- Basa-Basa Pik!

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Honda Civic returns in Japan this summer

In a surprise twist at the recent 2017 Tokyo Auto Salon, Honda announced that the tenth-generation Honda Civic will be available in Japan this summer, marking its return in its home market after its seven-year absence.

We knew this is coming since Honda didn't got the previous model, although the current FK2 Civic Type R was the only ninth-generation Civic sold in Japan since 2015.

The Civic will be offered in sedan, hatchback, and the upcoming high-performance Type R model. The sedan will be made in Japan while the hatchback and Type R will be made in England. The sedan and the hatchback will be powered by a 1.5L VTEC TURBO petrol engine.

The tenth-generation Civic was launched in the USA since late 2015 and then the rest of the world a year later. Japan may have been late to the party but it's great to have the Civic back to where it truly belonged.

Things we learned from the Nintendo Switch presentation

Nintendo Switch

When Nintendo announced the Switch last fall, the video game community rejoiced to the latest offering from the Japanese video game giant with new ways to play with Nintendo's next-generation console that can be either a home console, a hand-held, and both, giving them the best of both worlds. 

People who can't wait to be "switched" are still skeptical about what the Switch can do while there are some questions are yet to be answered until the recent presentation reveals...almost everything we need to know about the Switch.

First off, Nintendo announced that the Switch will be launched globally on the 3rd of March, 2017. In Japan, it will be priced at 29,980 JPY, while in the US, it will be priced at 299.99 US Dollars, meaning it is more expensive than the old Wii U and it's similarly priced between the XBOX One and the PS4. What we have here is a stalemate of next-gen consoles offered in the market.

One of the real kickers behind the Switch is that the new console will not have Region Locking at all. I repeat, NO REGION LOCKING IMPLEMENTED. That sounds great news to us and regardless of where you bought that game elsewhere, the Switch plays it all, no matter the region is.

There are three ways to play with the Switch, as demonstrated since the announcement video last year. First, the TV mode, where you can play the Switch traditionally on TV. Then, there's the handheld mode where you can turn the Switch from a home console to a handheld console that you can take it anytime, anywhere. And lastly, the tabletop mode. With three ways to enjoy the Switch, this is the gaming freedom the fans are waiting for. You can even charge it with a USB cable as well. It also works with amiibo figures as well.

The launch game for the new Switch is 1-2-Switch, a fun variety game that makes full use of the JoyCon's capabilities. Later, it will be joined with the brand new fighting game ARMS, Splatoon 2, Super Mario Odyssey, and many others as seen in the presentation. Annoyingly, no sign of Smash for the time being.

In the fall of 2017, Nintendo will offer a paid online service on the Switch and what does that mean? Looks like you are going to need a paid subscription to enjoy multiplayer games, giving more reasons why your wallet's not safe from paid online services on those next-gen consoles.

Anyway, after viewing the presentation, let's take note that the Switch is available worldwide starting at the third of March, 2017. Looks like this year will be a great one for Nintendo...whatever that is.

Let's Do The News! (January 13, 2017)

- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took breakfast at President Rodrigo Duterte's home in Davao on the second and the last day of his Philippine visit. Over the course of Abe's Philippine visit, he pledges 8.7 billion dollars worth of business opportunities, private investments, speedboats, and counterterrorism equipment to the Philippines.

- Following the harsh stance posed by former ExxonMobil CEO and Trump's Secretary-of-State pick Rex Tillerson over the South China Sea dispute, the Chinese government reminded the US to reject the "Cold War" mentality, seek partnerships instead of alliances, and respect the ASEAN agreement on South China Sea.

- Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. has relayed to the Indian embassy that the government will strictly enforce President Duterte's policy to end the so-called "5-6" lending scheme practiced by Indian nationals, purportedly to protect the people from unscrupulous activity. Yasay said he told Ramakrishnan Narayana, charge d'affaires of the Indian embassy, as the first vin d'honneur of the President in Malacanang Wednesday that ending this lending scheme is part of addressing domestic problems.

- Thousands of US ground troops have arrived in Poland to serve as a deterrent in Eastern Europe following the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014. US and Polish soldiers attended a welcome ceremony at an army base in the western town of Zagan on Thursday. Roughly 3,500 US Army troops began entering Poland last week with armored vehicles and more than 80 tanks.

- Japanese and Russian ministers have agreed to come up with a timeframe around the end of March to implement energy deals signed during President Vladimir Putin's Japanese visit last month. The agreement came in a meeting between Hiroshige Seko, the Japanese Minister for Economic Cooperation with Russia, and Alexander Novak, the Russian Energy Minister, on Thursday. Governments and companies from both countries signed 80 agreement documents based on an economic cooperation plan presented by Tokyo, focusing on energy deals, including gas and nuclear power.

- Takata reportedly agree to the one billion dollar settlement on Friday and expected to include a guilty plea to wire fraud. The fine will include 25 million dollars for a criminal penalty, 125 million dollars to victims of the faulty air bags, and 850 million dollars to automakers affected by the airbags.

- Since New Year's Eve 2016, the popular boy band SMAP broke up after their successive careers and just as last week, they've sent farewell messages to fans. Find out here.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: Fourth hearing on the President Park impeachment case

The fourth hearing of the impeachment case of South Korean president Park Geun-hye held earlier today.

Former president as well as a current reporter of a local daily Segye Ilbo, both testified about how the daily were able to obtain documents that detailed the ties between Chung Yoon-hoi, the ex-husband of Choi Soon-sil, and senior presidential officials that led it to run an exclusive report in late 2014.

The daily said it was subject to tax audits and search and seizure raids after the report was published and that the Park administration had ordered the actions.

Meanwhile, a former member of a special investigative team that looked into the Sewol tragedy said based on his ten-year experience working for the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae, the top office can promptly deliver emergency situations to the president's secretaries.

Source: Arirang News

Let's Do The News! (January 12, 2017)

- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has arrived in Manila for a two-day official visit in the Philippines. Abe landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 around 2:50 PM local time aboard a Japanese Air Force plane from Tokyo. For his visit, Abe is expected to renew Japan ties with the country by meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte and business groups in Manila and Davao City.

- China has reassured its commitment to the peaceful resolution of the region but stressed its "indisputable sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and their adjacent waters," part of which Manila claims and calls the West Philippine Sea. The State Council Information Office's policy paper released to media said that "has always been committed to resolving disputes peacefully through negotiation and consultation, managing disputes by setting rules and establishing mechanisms, realizing mutually beneficial outcomes through cooperation for mutual benefit, and upholding peace and stability as well as freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea."

- ExxonMobil CEO and US President-elect Donald Trump's pick for Secretary-of-state, Rex Tillerson,  wants aggressive stance against China's island-building activities in the South China Sea. In his confirmation hearing, Tillerson likened China's activities in the South China Sea to Russia's annexation of Crimea.

- US President-elect Donald Trump held his first press conference since July 2015 at the Trump Tower, stressing his administration's mission to correct trade imbalances with other countries and put priority on national interests. He called the country's trade deals a disaster, praised companies, cooperate with Russia, and blaming Democrats. He, as always, denies the recent reports about his sexual activity during his Russian visit. Moments ago, reports told that the Russians have embarrassing personal and financial information about Trump. The media reports say the document in question contains a claim that Russian operatives may have obtained information about Trump.

- US authorities have charged two relatives of former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon with attempted bribery. Judicial officials in New York said that they inducted an executive of a South Korean construction firm and his son, a real estate dealer based in New York. The executive is Ban's younger brother. The two are suspected of trying offer 2.5 million dollars to a Middle Eastern official as part of their effort to sell a high-rise building in Vietnam to a Middle Eastern investment funds for 800 million dollars.

- A Japanese broadcaster found an unreleased audio tape of an interview with the late novelist Yukio Mishima. The interview was apparently recorded in February 1970, nine months before the novelist committed ritual suicide in a Self-Defense Force building in Tokyo. He was 45.

- Jaguar's F-Type range has been given a minor change for the 2018 model year, featuring a revised design, new infotainment system, and the world's first ReRun app that combines vehicle data with GoPro video to enhance the driving experience. A special edition 400 SPORT was announced, equipped with a 400PS 3.0L supercharged V6 engine and special extras.

2018 Jaguar F-Type

- The second addition to Phat!'s THE IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls anime DVD and Blu-ray cover figure range, Kirari Moroboshi and Anzu Futaba, has arrived. Two girls, one figure. What more can you expect? It's now available to order starting at 17,800 Yen plus tax and deliveries will commence this July.

Phat! THE IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls
Kirari Moroboshi and Anzu Futaba

- Bailey May will portray the role of Daniel Padilla in an upcoming episode of ABS-CBN's Maalaala Mo Kaya.


Third-Generation Toyota Vitz (2017 minor change) and Vitz Hybrid

2017 Toyota Vitz

So, the current-generation Toyota Vitz has been around since December 2010 and while the sharper looks captures most baby boomers and millennials alike, its driving can be somewhat "regular". It's been on the block for about seven years and for the second time, the third-generation Vitz has been given a minor change for the 2017 model year.

2017 Toyota Vitz
2017 Toyota Vitz interior

For the 2017 minor change, the Vitz now features a brand new exterior design that keeps it edgier than the previous facelift. First, there's a new, sleeker, front nose that makes it very sleek for a compact hatchback made for baby boomers and millennials alike, and then the rear view has been drastically altered to resemble more of its big brother, the Auris. Although not much has changed on the interior, the lineup is what gets you noticed. You still have a choice of either a 1.0L or a 1.3L 1NR-FKE engine mated with a Super CVT-i gearbox but there's bad news for speedo boys in the world; the RS variant has been sadly deleted from the lineup, which is very disappointing for the speedo boys despite hearing the news that the Vitz will be ready for the World Rally Championship for the first time after 18 years. Sure is sad to see the hotter Vitz go away for the 2017 model year but there's one major addition in the 2017 Vitz range that will get you noticed also and let's cut to the chase; there's a hybrid variant.

You heard it right. There's now a hybrid variant on the Vitz and while it can be questionable to sell it alongside its relative, the Aqua, because both of them are hybrid compacts, it's undeniable proof that no car in Japan is safe from being turned into a hybrid. That's political climate for you. Anyway, the hybrid variant features a 1.5L 1NZ-FXE engine connected to an electric motor and a nickel metal battery, which Toyota keeps on using it on their hybrids rather than the Li-ion batteries most carmakers are using right now. Taking advantage of the THS II and the CVT mated on it, the Vitz Hybrid produces a total power output of 100PS and fuel efficiency of 34.4km/L. In general, that's about 2.6km/L less than the Aqua relative.

Although it isn't as enjoyable as the Vitz you are familiar with seven years ago, its compact sizing makes it good for a daily driver for work and play. The 4.5m turning radius makes it easier to park and easier to get in and out in the narrowest of situations. As for safety, the Vitz offers the Toyota Safety Sense C, comprising of Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, and the Automatic High Beam function.

2017 Toyota Vitz
The Vitz Hybrid starts at 1,819,800 Japanese Yen while the regular Vitz lineup starts at 1,181,520 Yen. Needless to say, while the new exterior design is a major improvement for the aging third-generation Vitz, the fun factor as a compact is already gone and in return, it's still a regular compact with regular tastes that is somewhat too normal for its own kind and with the addition of the hybrid variant, resistance is futile because as Japan keeps on selling more and more hybrids, the definition of "fun" will soon be wiped out from their vocabulary and who can blame them?

Photo: Toyota Motor Corporation

Emperor Akihito announces his abdication at the start of 2019

Japanese Emperor Akihito is set to be abdicated an allow his eldest son to take over his throne at the start of the year 2019, according to reports.

Akihito, aged 83, who succeed from his father Hirohito, who passed away in 1989, hinted last summer that he wants to retire, as his ailing health conditions made him difficult to take his duties.

The Japanese government is making preparations for the nation's first abdication for two centuries as the possibility of the Crown Prince Naruhito taking over is very likely, according to reports. 

The last abdication took place in 1817 when Kokaku announced his abdication and let his son Ninku take over his throne.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Extra Service

ABS-CBN's Star Cinema starts the year 2017 with a bang as the first offering of the year is a hilarious spy flick featuring the hottest celebs in showbiz as Extra Service locks their crosshairs to the cinemagoers and shoot them with their blend of wit, humor, and hotness this action-comedy flick can offer.

Extra Service

Extra Service is about three women named Aw (Arci Munoz), Em (Coleen Garcia) and Gee (Jessy Mendiola) as they're starting their new lives as your basic masseurs but behind their daily lives as masseurs, they're a trio of spies who are on a mission to reclaim a valuable treasure in exchange for their freedom. Sure is a challenging attempt for the ladies but how hard can it be?

In addition to the actresses starred in this flick, we can expect other celebs like Enzo Pineda, Ejay Falcon, Vin Abrenica, and Carmi Martin, among many others.

As a comedy flick, this movie fails to gut the viewers with their own brand of jokes because some say, it's a bit bland and very corny to laugh on their misfits. As a action flick, meanwhile, it doesn't pack some thrills until it hits the right spot where things starting to unfold to deliver the "extra service" this film deserves. So, it's not quite funny nor thrilling as any other action comedies had but what does this film loaded with is the sex appeal and seeing the stars dishing out their brand of hotness really wants to get your butt kicked by this film, get choked to unconsciousness, or get your bones break, whichever this film throws at you.

Extra Service may not be funny or thrilling but the sexual sensation of this film really stimulates your senses into beating yourself up right through the very end of this flick.

My rating: 2.6 out of 5


BlueMoon Harmony

The second installment of THE IDOLM@STER LIVE THE@TER FORWARD trilogy of CDs now highlights on the BlueMoon Harmony gals of the 765 MILLION STARS from THE IDOLM@STER Million Live mobile game.

For this installment, fans got their ears on the next batch of their favorite Million Live idols such as Reika Kitakami (CV: Emi Hirayama), Karen Shinomiya (CV: Yui Kondou), Julia (CV: Aimi), Sayoko Takayama (CV: Yuri Komagata), Tomoka Tenkubashi (CV: Kotori Koiwai), Megumi Tokoro (CV: Yukiyo Fujii), Subaru Nagayoshi (CV: Yuka Saito), Yuriko Nanao (CV: Miku Ito), Chizuru Nikaido (CV: Kanako Nomura), Ayumu Maihama (CV: Megumi Toda), Mizuki Makabe (CV: Rika Abe), and Shizuka Mogami (CV: Azusa Tadokoro). In here, fans are greeted with five brand new songs and six brand new audio drama parts focusing on BlueMoon Harmony team and its sub-units Sagittarius, Pisces, Virgo, and Aquarius. Need to expect more?

Be sure to pick up the Sunshine Rhythm installment of the LIVE THE@TER FORWARD trilogy CDs and brace yourselves for the upcoming Starlight Melody installment, coming this February. There are more reasons why you should come back for more at THE IDOLM@STER Million Live.

01 ドラマ1「開演のご挨拶」
02 Raise the FLAG
03 ドラマ2「MC01~その頃舞台裏では」
04 P.S I Love You
05 ドラマ3「MC02~その頃舞台裏では」
06 プリムラ
07 ドラマ4「MC03~その頃舞台裏では」
08 待ちぼうけのLacrima
09 ドラマ5「MC04~その頃舞台裏では」
10 brave HARMONY
11 ドラマ6「終演後~その頃舞台裏では」

Let's Do The News! (January 11, 2017)

- President Rodrigo Duterte sworn in over 200 appointees to various government posts, stressing his fight against corruption. It was the first speech he made after his weeklong hiatus and the President reminded the new officials to cooperate and render the kind of service Filipinos deserve.

- Secretary Gina Lopez and three other officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources are facing criminal and administrative charges from a consumer group over an allegedly anomalous purchase of air quality monitoring equipment. In a nine-page complaint filed yesterday, the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters accused Lopez of inaction for not launching any investigation on what it called an anomalous purchase of equipment by the DENR's Environmental Management Bureau-Air Quality Monitoring System.

- President Duterte sent an official invitation to US President-Elect Donald Trump for the ASEAN summit to be held in the Philippines in November, President Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said Trump hasn't confirmed his visit to the Philippines for the summit.

- Filipino netizens draw flak against the proposed imposition of a 10-to-30 percent excise tax on cosmetic products and beauty services as an alternative to imposing additional tax on fuel products. A certain partylist representative proposed the "vanity tax" that will also be imposed on services such as liposuction, facelift, nose job, and breast augmentation and it would be better to impose it on those who want to look good, which, he said is a luxury.

- US President Barack Obama delivered his final and emotional speech of the nation in Chicago, Illinois before next week's inauguration of Donald Trump. Obama urged all Americans to stand up for US values and reject discrimination as the country transitions to the presidency of Republican Donald Trump. Obama plans to stay in Washington for the next two years while his younger daughter, Sasha, finishes high school. The president wants to give Trump the same space that his predecessor, Republican President George W. Bush, gave Obama after leaving office by not maintaining a high profile.

- Iran's political leadership has bid farewell to former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani at his state funeral in Tehran. Attendants at the funeral on Tuesday included supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.

- A US jury recommended the death penalty of a white male charged with killing nine black people at a church in South Carolina last June. Dylann Roof faces 33 charges, including hate crimes, over the shootings in Charleston. Last month, the same jury convicted him of all the charges. They jury gave the verdict after deliberations on Tuesday on whether to sentence the man to death or not.

- FIFA says the 2026 World Cup will have 48 teams, 16 more than at present. The council unanimously approved the expansion in a meeting in Zurich on Tuesday. This is the first time in 28 years the World Cup finals will be expanded. The 2018 World Cup will take place in Russia in the summer of 2018.

- A new trailer for the upcoming Disney-Pixar's Cars 3 has arrived and looks like Lightning McQueen's not giving up without a fight, especially he has a fierce opposition against a more modern rival, Jackson Storm. With the help of his new trainer, Cruz Ramirez, can Lightning McQueen strike back in the race? Find out this Summer 2017.

- 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of everyone's favorite virtual idol, Hatsune Miku, and something big is happening to celebrate the occasion.


Stars of the 2017 NAIAS

2018 Chevrolet Traverse

The 2017 North American International Auto Show, going on now until the 22nd of January, 2017, will be the show's last outing before the incoming Trump administration that will dramatically shift the automotive sector in the United States. Thanks to the sudden rise of the controversial US President-elect Donald Trump and his tortured metaphors that changed the world for the next four years, it's assuming that car companies will go big (or go home) in the United States. during his term.

Ford, for instance, say that they will cancel building a new plant in Mexico, which Mr. Trump strongly opposes, and instead invest in building electric vehicles at their Flat Rock Assembly Plant. In addition of announcing that they will build hybrid versions of the Mustang and F-150, they also announce the return of the Ranger pick-up and the Bronco SUV in 2020. FCA, meanwhile, they would invest a billion dollars in manufacturing plants in Ohio and Michigan for new SUVs. Then Japanese car companies are planning big on the US car market. Honda launched a US-made minivan with the company's first 10-speed gearbox while Toyota launched a new-generation midsize saloon and promised over ten billion dollars to be invested in the US market in the next five years.

Anyway, while this is all in the name of Trump's "Make America Great Again" campaign, let's take a look on the stars of this year's show before giving way to the administration that we're in for a rollercoaster ride...

2017 Audi A5 Convertible
2017 Audi S5 Convertible
2018 Audi SQ5
2017 BMW 5-Series
2018 Chevrolet Traverse
2018 Ford F-150 Minor Change
2018 GMC Terrain
2018 Lexus LS
2018 Mercedes-AMG GT Minor Change
2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe
2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Minor Change
2018 VW Tiguan Allspace
2017 Audi Q8 Concept
2017 Infiniti QX50 Concept
2018 Porsche 911 GTS
2017 Rinspeed Oasis Concept
2017 Nissan Vmotion 2.0 Concept
2017 VW ID Buzz concept

...and more.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Citroen C-Elysee (2017 minor change)

Back when Citroen decided to sell the C-Elysee compact saloon in Europe following its success in developing markets, including the People's Republic of China, the French car company wanted to make sure that their most affordable four-door saloon tries to cut off against the likes of other low budget saloons in Europe such as the Skoda Rapid, Seat Toledo, or even the Fiat Tipo. Sadly, its regular looks never seem to please motorists as well as its regular driving characteristics. Now, Citroen revised the low-cost saloon for the 2017 model year to cope up with its regularity.

2017 Citroen C-Elysee
2017 Citroen C-Elysee interior

No time to talk because let's see what the recent minor change has done to the low-cost Citroen C-Elysee saloon and how can this new model can keep up with its "regular" characteristics as expected for first-time buyers. First up, the exterior has been revised with the new, broader radiator grill and chrome-plated chevrons that works well with the new headlamps as well as the new LED lighting strip on top of the fog lamps while the rear view has been mildly revised.

The interior has been revised and now features a new 7-inch touchscreen interface with smartphone connectivity that makes full use of its newly found Apple Carplay, MirrorLink, and Android Auto compatibility so your smartphone can feel connected with the new C-Elysee. That all sounds lovely to toy around with but in terms of comfort, it still remains the same as well as its 506-litre boot space for your recent garage sale stuff.

As always, the C-Elysee is still powered by a choice of either a 1.2L petrol engine producing 82PS of power and 1.6L BlueHDi diesel engine producing 100PS of power, both mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.

The new C-Elysee starts at 13,750 Euros, about three hundred more than the previous model but it's still on the same price bracket as the Skoda Rapid, Seat Toledo, or even the Fiat Tipo. It maybe vale for money but you have to be wise enough not to mess this low-cost saloon from the ground up.

Photo: PSA Peugeot Citroen

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: Third hearing on the President Park impeachment case

The third hearing of the impeachment case of South Korean president Park Geun-hye is underway. The justices of the Constitutional Court have told the president's lawyers that the document they submitted on her whereabouts and activities on the day of the ferry disaster in April 2014 isn't enough.

The court said they need more evidence and also requested her lawyers submit phone records between President Park and security officers that briefed her or received her orders on the day of the ferry sinking.

Meanwhile, Choi Soon-sil, along with President Park's aides An Chong-bum and Jeong Ho-seong, all informed the Constitutional Court that they will not attend the hearing, saying they have to prepare for their criminal trials.

Source: Arirang News

Let's Do The News! (January 10, 2017)

- A denial of service attack has kept the website of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines offline since Monday night. "We do not know by whom but this we can say – whoever are responsible for this attack are enemies of press freedom and of free expression," the group said in a statement on its Facebook page. The mainstream media by some supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte for being biased against him and his administration and this is not the first time that journalists and journalists' groups have been hit online.

- According to Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Vice President Leni Robredo is not involved in an e-mail group allegedly planning to oust President Rodrigo Duterte. Over the weekend, archives of supposed e-mails in a Global Filipino Diaspora Council Yahoo! Group between group members and supposed members of the Office of the Vice President circulated on social media. The supposed emails have been dubbed "LeniLeaks". Robredo denies everything, of course.

- The image of the Black Nazarene was returned to the minor basilica known as Quiapo Church, around 0345 hours local time after a 22-hour procession around Manila. The procession known locally as "traslacion" of the image pulled on a carriage left the Quirino Grandstand at 0520 hours on Monday, the start of the annual crowded Roman Catholic celebration.

- People in Nigeria have marched the 1,000th day since Boko Haram Islamic extremists abducted hundreds of schoolgirls. In April 2014, the extremist group took over 200 girls from their school in the western African nation, threatening to traffic them as slaves.

- A US Navy destroyer has fired warning shots at Iranian military boats at the entrance to the Persian Gulf. Officials at the US Defense Department say that 4 boats from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps approached the USS Mahan at high speed on Sunday. Pentagon officials say that the Iranian ships ignored US radio warnings and came within about 800m of the US ship.

- Two aging nuclear reactors near New York City will be shut down by the next four years. The state of New York and Entergy, the operator of the reactors have agreed to take the two operating reactors at Indian Point nuclear power plant offline. The reactors were first licensed for operation in the mid-70's. The two reactors combined can produce over 2,000 megawatts of electricity.

- Russia condemned the recent US intel report which concludes that President Vladimir Putin ordered cyber-attacks to help Donald Trump win the US presidential election. Last week, the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence concluded that Putin ordered cyber-attacks against computers used by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's team.

- The Federal Bureau of Investigation reported arrested an executive of Volkswagen on charges of conspiracy to defraud US regulators by altering emissions data. Reports told of the arrest of Oliver Schmidt, who headed the automaker's regulatory compliance in the US from 2014 to March 2015.

- In addition to US President-elect Donald Trump drawn flak by Meryl Streep's Golden Globe awards speech (and countered it via one of his infamous tweets), the mixed martial arts community got offended from her speech as well. Bellator MMA president Scott Coker wrote her an open letter inviting her to attend a fight to prove that MMA is art, as Streep opposed aside from American football as said from her speech.

- A new Biohazard/Resident Evil stage play will be running at Tokyo's Zepp Blue Theater Roppongi from the 10th to the 26th of February, and in Kobe's Shin Kobe Oriental Theater from the 4th to the 5th of March. Ryusei Yokohama, Yuki Fukumoto, Reo Shimura, and many others will star in the original stage play based from the hit survival horror franchise.


Forza Horizon 3: Saint's Row

Cue the Legendary Tribe Music because it's time for another barn find rumor! And this month's barn find rumor is located somewhere beyond Yarra Valley. Some say that the barn find in question was famous for being a car of choice of a certain smart aleck detective and played by a certain someone who landed in this role before he became the agent we all know and love.

Without further ado, let's get this treasure-hunting started!

And now, the moment of truth...


Let's see...Hmmm...A car famed for being the choice of a certain detective from a classic TV show. No way! It's a Volvo 1800! This is the car of choice for Simon Templar, the smart alecky detective and the star of The Saint. It's the TV show Roger Moore starred in before he became 007 number three. Just imagine, living like The Saint is like you're on the move, stopping criminals with his brand of honesty and wise-cracking ideas, something you'd expect from binge-watching some detective shows.

Seen here is the 1800E and this Volvo comes with a B20E engine with fuel injection producing 130HP of power, resulting to a 0-100kph time of 9.5 seconds and a top speed of 190kph. Not as quick by modern standards but it is still a good car to drive. Picturing myself as The Saint driving this Volvo while gunning down against members of a drug cartel in their Jeeps, Broncos, and Scouts in a middle of a wilderness is something they should have done in the first place. In fact, I did trying to live the fantasy of The Saint giving chase to the notorious drug syndicate operating in Australia, just to give you a hint on its star power that Roger Moore propelled it in the TV show. Let's cue The Saint theme song and let's get cracking.

And they said The Saint got them red-handed. Case closed but not for me because there are still more barn finds waiting to be discovered within a couple of months so the case is still on for The Saint.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Let's Do The News! (January 9, 2017)

- President Rodrigo Duterte highlighted the fight against injustice, corruption, and abuse of power in his message for this year's Traslacion of the Black Nazarene. Duterte said Filipinos keep their faith as they strive to fight the ills of society. Duterte describe as "phenomenal" the expression of faith of the millions of Black Nazarene devotees, which comes in the form of gratitude, petition, and sacrifice.

- Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III said he could not blame Malacañang for the decision to probe reports on an alleged plot by supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo to oust President Duterte which have surfaced online and called "LeniLeaks."

- Bong Go, President Duterte's longtime aide denied that the chief executive visited a cancer hospital in China while he was out of public eye during the first few days of the year. Go said the president never left the country during his private time.

- US President-elect Donald Trump was unamused over Meryl Streep's Golden Globe speech. Trump never seen Ms. Streep's remarks or other parts of the Globes ceremony, but added that he was "not surprised" that he had been drawn flak by the "liberal movie people."

- Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani passed way at the age of 82. Media reports that he died on Sunday at a Tehran hospital after suffering a heart attack. The Iranian government has announced three days of national mourning.

- 20 people have died in Europe as freezing temperatures grip the continent. Snowstorms have hit many parts of Europe for the past several days.

- British scientists warned that a huge iceberg is on the risk of breaking away from Antarctica. Members of Project MIDAS at the University of Swansea in Wales have been monitoring a rift across the Larsen C ice shelf. This extends west on the Antarctic Peninsula. The say the rift suddenly grew longer last month and is now more than 80km. There are 20km left before the shelf breaks apart.

- The popular Battle Girl High School app game will spawn a TV anime coming this Summer 2017.

- British car company Ginetta will join the 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship with their new chassis.


Forza Horizon 3: Long-awaited Bimmer

While the cars of Forza Horizon 3 are freely roaming around in the roads of the Land Down Under, a car made with the futuristic necessities come shining through as it rolls by. This could only mean one thing; at long last, after two or three years of waiting to get this car featured in the Forza franchise after its launch, the long-awaited Bimmer, the BMW i8, has arrived, ringing the new year with a flashpoint of the future.

Yes, the BMW i8 has arrived, thanks to Forza Horizon 3's Rockstar Energy Drink Car Pack, available now, and with this car pack, our dream of driving BMW's flagship plug-in hybrid electric sportscar that is the spearheader of the BMW i range in the game has came true and we have plenty of reasons to drive "the ultimate driving machine" for the next generation. More like the next 100 years if you ask the Bimmer fanatics.

So, what's it all about the BMW i8? As the sensation of the year 2014, BMW's all new plug-in hybrid electric sportscar, the i8, ushers the new era of sporty driving with ecological conscience in mind. Drawing inspirations from the Vision EfficientDynamics Concept in 2009 and the i8 Concept in 2011, this concept-turned-reality PHEV is another reason why BMW is getting their eco-car game face on and it combines the fun-to-drive characteristics of a luxury sportscar with the ecology and efficiency of most hybrids and electric cars. With the 1.5L petrol and the hybrid synchronous motor working together, it develops a total output of 362PS of power, resulting to a 0-100kph time of 4.4 seconds and 2.1L/100km of fuel economy. Apart from that, the i8's bodywork is comprised of space-age materials, making it stiffer and lighter. All and all, the i8 is a PHEV that is here today, ready for tomorrow and with such unique packaging, no one can go wrong with it.

I feel like I'm one in a million people who demanded to have this car in the franchise since its 2014 launch as a 2015 model year and while it sounds too little, too late for us, it's better late than never to have BMW's flagship plug-in hybrid electric sportscar in the game. Because this is the one everyone's waited for so long, the BMW i8 is surely become their next favorite Bimmer to drive in the Land Down Under for days, even months, while experimenting its astonishing capabilities this PHEV can do. Yes, we do have the berks of the future in the range such as the P1, LaFerrari, the Tesla Model S, and even the latest NSX I drove a while back, but this i8 is all about being a step into tomorrow's world and while its eco-car credentials swoon weird-beard environmentalists and armpit hair enthusiasts alike, its performance is nothing to be called a dull ride to the playground. In fact, there's some work to be done with this...long-awaited Bimmer.

See what I did? Looks like the i8 got the "extra service" it deserved and speaking of which, who else to love but THE IDOLM@STER's Yayoi Takatsuki? I mean, come on. Is anyone still have love with the series for over a decade?! Still, the reason why I came this up is because while this basically an expensive car with a six-figure price tag, it is considered to be ten times less expensive than the "holy trinity" of hypercars. Sadly, the so-called "holy trinity" of the supercar realm are already sold out, hence this is the only hybrid sportscar you can afford. Still, that pricing kinda rings a bell when you compare it against another hybrid sportscar, the new Honda NSX. I love that car, anyway, but if you had to choose between the NSX and i8? Which would you like?

Sadly, this isn't the time to answer questions because it's time for the i8's no talk, just do it to the max straight approach! Hey! Where did I heard that before? Still, time to get the cameras rolling!

The BMW i8 is the car that was meant to be a future-ready innovation in the time when cars with big thirsty V8 engines are heading to the list of endangered species, just like what happened to the V10 engines, which sadly there are two remaining on the list such as the Lamborghini Huracan and the Audi R8. Like animals, car innovations don't live for a few years and the numbers will keep on declining for the next generation until one of them are declared extinct. Things change and and this is the very reality we're facing right now so we have to adapt through every situation as the world turns for better or for worse, like what the i8 is doing as it can adapt to the ever-changing world with its future-ready innovation that sets the template for BMW's centennial history. Anyway, that's all I can said it and I think that's enough for that.

Happy that you got to drive the i8? If so, you'll be glad that you had it since the car was launched in 2014.

Winners of the 2017 Golden Globe Awards

This year's Golden Globe Awards is an award ceremony heard round the world not just on tackling today's world affairs but to honor the best of cinematic and televisual greatness as judged by the panel of experts. So, in case you missed the recent awards ceremony, check out the list of this year's winners. You'll be surprised which one scored the most...

Best picture, drama: “Moonlight”

Best picture, comedy or musical: “La La Land”

Actress, drama: Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”

Actor, drama: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”

Actress, comedy or musical: Emma Stone, “La La Land”

Actor, comedy or musical: Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”

Supporting actress: Viola Davis, “Fences”

Supporting actor: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, “Nocturnal Animals”

Director: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”

Screenplay: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”

Animated film: “Zootopia”

Foreign language film: “Elle” (France)

Original score: Justin Hurwitz, “La La Land”

Original song: “City of Stars,” “La La Land”

Best series, drama: “The Crown,” Netflix

Best series, comedy or musical: “Atlanta,” FX

Best television movie or mini-series: “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” FX

Actress, mini-series or television movie: Sarah Paulson, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”

Actor, mini-series or television movie: Tom Hiddleston, “The Night Manager”

Actress, drama: Claire Foy, “The Crown”

Actor, drama: Billy Bob Thornton, “Goliath”

Actress, comedy or musical: Tracee Ellis Ross, “black-ish”

Actor, comedy or musical: Donald Glover, “Atlanta”

Supporting actress: Olivia Colman, “The Night Manager”

Supporting actor: Hugh Laurie, “The Night Manager”

La La Land

It seems that the musical film "La La Land" is the big winner of this year's Golden Globe awards because it scored seven awards than any other films in this year's awards ceremony, making it an impressive record for a movie that starred award-winning stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone about love, difficulties, and success in the eyes of a jazz pianist and an aspiring actress. Come to think of it, La La Land has became the talk of the town ever since it shown in theaters since last month, and due to its popularity, it became the clear winner of this year's Golden Globe awards.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

FH3 Blizzard Mountain: Snow Flower

As everyone remembered, this is the Lotus Exige S. With the added power from its supercharged V6 engine combined with the legendary Lotus dynamics that focused solely on weight loss, it is one of the most extreme Lotuses ever made to cater the most demanding drivers on the road and on the track. However, in a cold climate like Blizzard Mountain, there's no freaking way that this car can race here...or can I?

Because almost all of the cars offered in Forza Horizon 3 can be fitted with studless tires because without it, it would be difficult to drive it here, especially when you got an offroader in your collection. For a rear-wheel drive like the Lotus Exige, it's virtually impossible to drive it through ice so it's ideal to rig it with studless snow tires. Although, even with snow tires, it's still not going to make it through the icy conditions of Blizzard Mountain, or perhaps can you?

To find out, I am giving the Lotus Exige S the "extra service" it deserves. Aside from giving it some snow tires and some performance upgrades for competitive purposes, it's got some familiar looking design that was updated for today. The last time I made a design for the Exige S back in Europe, that Takane Shijou look gave it a more alluring flair and now, I've updated the design to meet Platinum Stars standards. Nothing says I took that looks from the pages of Ridge Racer's Fatalita "Takane SP" special machine.

Anyway, after long hours of extra service, the Exige is ready to take on a scene where different cars are racing through a village during a snowstorm at the dead of night. Severe snowstorm at nightfall? That is very scary and so are the cars getting ready for filming but the show must go on as planned and judging by the challenges set here, looks like I might run into some fierce resistance from the opponents. So, let's get this show started.

Man, that Audi TT S at the end of the race is a real thorn to me during the final lap, and despite my victory at the end of the race packed with extreme icy conditions, it's clear that even with snow tires, rear-wheel drives are almost impossible to survive, although this would pack some added challenge to the drivers who demand more. Like they said, a true champion always adapt to the battlefield, seeing the harsher conditions as a challenge, and taking a rear-wheel drive Lotus on the winter wonderland is a tough act to follow.
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