Saturday, July 8, 2017

Torchwood: The Office of Never Was

Big Finish Productions continues to unearth some of the hidden Torchwood archives that never saw the light of day as full-cast audio drama CDs so fans of the hit Doctor Who spinoff can get the same experience as they got from the hit BBC TV series. 2017 promises to bring more Torchwood audio dramas as part of their ongoing efforts to celebrate Torchwood's 10th anniversary since October 2006.

Torchwood: The Office of Never Was

Torchwood's favorite errand boy, Ianto Jones (played by Gareth David-Lloyd), returns for his most intense mission never told from the hidden archives and this installment is all ears on Ianto himself and only him as he faces his innermost fears yet.

There is an abandoned office block somewhere in Cardiff and it has been the backdrop of many haunted stories regarding this empty office block that was ceased to exist. Ianto Jones has too much stuff on his hands right now especially it's already the weekends but the deserted block in question keeps on summoning him for one major purpose; what awaits him in The Office of Never Was?

Finally, some supernatural storytelling that is what you can expect from the untold stories from the Torchwood Institute archives and it's hard to guess where will our favorite errand boy run into in the depths of nothingness this background provided in this frightening storytelling. Despite he's almost alone in this story, this installment has the same experience as entering a dark room when you're awake with your head throbbing, vision becomes blurry, and you need to light up the fire. That's what this untold archive is all about.

This installment is just another one of the main reason why we are loyal fans of Torchwood since a decade ago.

FH3 Hot Wheels: Dino Thunder

As you can see, we are rejoined by the Mercedes-AMG GT R, the most hardcore version of the Mercedes-AMG GT, and while donning the familiar design I made since our last encounter, it's taking on a new adventure right here on Thrilltopia. Of course being Thrilltopia, the AMG GT R isn't just taking on the toughest visitors because today. we're trying to brave through this...

(roaring sounds)

We're trying to brave through an area infested by a giant T-Rex. Don't worry, they're not real, they're just mechanical T-Rexes, but seriously, they're as real as themselves so watch out for these metal munchers because it's going to be catastrophic if you get too close with these primal predators.

It's not just the T-Rexes we have to worry about now because even though this is the AMG equivalent of the Porsche 911 GT3, the Hot Wheels Thrilltopia is a free-for-all battleground so you will never know which cars your opponents might have and because this was designed to test the limits of your driving, you need some decent strategy to survive this primal playground designed from your childhood dreams and nightmares. Even when I'm brave against these gigantic creatures, it's the fast cars I should be worrying about because I never know what comes under the hood and they should not be underestimated.

Anyway, no time to be sappy right now because now is the time to unleash the AMG GT R, along with its Yuzu-ness for a shiny smile of my face in the face of danger, in an epic battleground where bravery comes first before speed and everything else. So, best of luck, then.

Now that was the toughest challenge we faced in this playground but the AMG GT R barely made it after all that bravery and speed witnessed in this dinosaur-infested battleground. I got to say that this was one heck of an epic drive indeed with the AMG GT R and looks like I am getting the hang of this place...well, almost.

Bubble Gang - July 7, 2017 #BGSuperHero

On the July 7, 2017 episode of Bubble Gang...

- Grupo ng mga Superhero gags

- The man with a troubled past has some acting problems but there is a way...

- Zumba instructor shows his rage-quitting zumba.

- Welcome to SLAP: Slow Learners Association of the Philippines

- A driver observing the distractions on the road

- This week's Balitang Ina takes on a new invention for key-fobbing moms

- The istambays are showing their weaknesses

- Basa-basa-pik!

UN adopted historical treaty to ban nuclear weapons

It was 1000 hours Eastern Standard Time in a sunny New York when the United Nations voted on a historical treaty that will ban nuclear weapons once and for all despite the opposition from nuclear armed states, including the United States, Russia, and China.

Source: International Campaign To Abolish Nuclear Weapons
Twitter account

About 122 nations voted in favor for the treaty while only one voted against and one abstained.

This historic treaty is a direct response to North Korea's ongoing missile and nuclear tests as well as US President Donald Trump's ambition to win the arms race against Russia and China, all in the name of humanitarian efforts to erase these weapons of mass destruction once and for all.

United Nations once adopted treaties to ban bioweapons in 1972, chemical weapons in 1993, land mines in 1997, and cluster bombs in 2008, following responses from gross crimes against humanity thanks to such weapons of mass destruction.

The treaty will open for signature by states at the United Nations in New York on the 20th of September 2017. Civil society organizations and over 140 states have participated in negotiations.


Friday, July 7, 2017

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: Trump pledges to act very strongly on NoKor missile threat

US President Donald Trump vowed to confront North Korea "very strongly" following its latest missile test and urged nations to show Pyongyang there would be consequences for its weapons programme.

Speaking at a news conference, Trump said North Korea was "a threat, a we will confront it very strongly." He said the United States was considering “severe things” for North Korea, but that he would not draw a “red line” of the kind that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had drawn but not enforced on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the missile test in itself did not bring the parties closer to a war and stressed that America’s focus was on diplomatic efforts to pressure Pyongyang.

Mattis spoke by phone with South Korean Defence Minister Han Min-koo on Thursday, reaffirming Washington’s commitment to the U.S.-South Korea alliance and promising “the full range of U.S. capabilities.” He spoke with his Japanese counterpart on Wednesday.

China called on Thursday for restraint and made clear it did not want to be targeted by U.S. sanctions. Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said that while China would implement relevant UN resolutions, “the U.S. should not use their domestic laws as excuses to levy sanctions against Chinese financial institutions”.

Russia, meanwhile, objected on Thursday to U.N. Security Council condemnation of the North Korean rocket launch because the U.S.-drafted statement referred to it as an intercontinental ballistic missile, diplomats said.

Source: Reuters

Let's Do The News! (July 7, 2017)

- Both the government and the communist groups have agreed to set the back channel talks as preparation for the fifth round of formal talks next month. It will be led by Fidel Agcaoili for the National Democratic Front and DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello to represent the government peace panel.

President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Department of Health Sec. Paulyn Ubial to immediately procure medical equipment needed by soldiers. Duterte said he will sack Ubial if she fails to establish systems and processes that will expedite the procurement of modern medical equipment at the AFP Medical Center.

- New DENR chief Roy Cimatu has suspended one of the orders implemented by former DENR Sec. Gina Lopez. This includes the administrative order requiring that all projects that may have critical effects on the environment must first be reviewed by the DENR Secretary.

- About 28 inmates were killed in a brutal fight in a prison in the Mexican Pacific resort of Acapulco, one of the worst outbreaks of violence in the country’s troubled penal system in recent years.

- Google says the disruption on some of their services such as Admin Console, Calendar and Hangouts have now been resolved, according to Google service status page, which also said that "the problem with Google Drive should be resolved."

- After two rounds of negotiations, the UN General Assembly is set to adopt a historical treaty to outlaw nuclear weapons tomorrow morning.

- France is set to ban the sales of petrol and diesel powered vehicles by the year 2040, according to reports. Ecology minister Nicolas Hulot, an appointment of new French leader Emmanuel Macron, announced the planned ban on fossil fuel vehicles as part of a renewed commitment to the Paris agreement, which a Trump-led US has pulled out of the agreement.

- Tekken Bowl returns on Tekken 7 as a DLC coming this August.

-  Comedian Super Tekla breaks silence on his sudden exit from GMA's late-afternoon variety show, Wowowin.


30 years of Metal Gear

The year 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of Konami's flagship stealth action game series but since that Hideo Kojima's no longer with the franchise anymore since The Phantom Pain and is now busy working with his first project since he left Konami, titled Death Straddling. It's sad to see how the future of Metal Gear saga will be without its creator but still, while Konami remains mum on its uncertain future, let's take a trip back memory lane to celebrate thirty years of Metal Gear.

Metal Gear Solid

From story-driven installments to spinoffs, the Metal Gear franchise rocked the globe with its unique way of gameplay as this game invented the genre of "stealth action" in the first place as well as memorable characters known to many. To date, over 51 million copies sold and it became the most successful franchise in video game history. So successful, everyone's fighting to get their products on a Metal Gear game.

Now though, the future of this franchise is now in doubt even though they've announced a new installment to the series despite Hideo Kojima's departure from the franchise and while we are wistfully look through the history of this great video game franchise, let's list down the installments from the past, present, and the future.

Metal Gear (MSX2/1987) - The saga that started it all, Metal Gear was launched in the MSX2 in July 1987 and players assume the role of FOXHOUND agent Solid Snake as he infiltrates Outer Heaven to put a stop of a deadly nuclear weapon known as Metal Gear.

Metal Gear 2 SOLID SNAKE (MSX2/1990) - Three years after the first game became a hit, a sequel to the first one, titled METAL GEAR 2 SOLID SNAKE, was launched and in this game, Solid Snake infiltrates Zanzibar Land as he's on a mission to rescue a scientist named Dr. Kio Marv and put a stop to a new Metal Gear.

Metal Gear Solid (PSX/1998) - This is the installment that helped make Metal Gear into one of the biggest franchises in video game history when it was launched on the PlayStation in 1998. It marks the series' jump into 3D graphics and true stealth action gaming. Solid Snake was summoned to infiltrate a nuclear weapons base known as Shadow Moses island that was under the control of the terrorists and as he races against time, he will learn the truth about what's going on in Shadow Moses. A year after it became success, a definitive "INTEGRAL" edition was launched featuring VR Missions and special extras.

METAL GEAR Ghost Babel (Game Boy Color/2000) - Spinoff to the hit franchise, Ghost Babel is Metal Gear's foray to the Game Boy Advance and as the gameplay is similar to the first two games, it features an all-original storyline you won't find in this saga.

Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty (PS2/2001) - Sons of Liberty is one of the most dramatic installment of the Metal Gear franchise when it was first launched in the PlayStation 2 on the autumn of 2001 (although it was delayed following the 9.11 attack in America). Aside from Solid Snake, Sons of Liberty introduces a new playable character named Raiden as he infiltrates the Big Shell, controlled by the terrorists, and rescue the hostages including the US President. However, as the story progresses, everything you know about Big Shell and why will soon be changed and all that suspense makes Sons of Liberty one of the most enjoyable games in the last decade. So enjoyable, it even has a definitive SUBSTANCE version launched a year later with added extras and became part of the METAL GEAR SOLID HD EDITION alongside the Snake Eater prequel since late 2011 on the PS3 and XBOX 360.

Metal Gear Solid The Twin Snakes (GameCube/2004) - The installment that helped make Metal Gear into one of the biggest franchises in video game history has been remade exclusively for the Nintendo GameCube since 2004. Combining MGS1 storytelling with MGS2-inspired gameplay, The Twin Snakes allows players, new and returning, revisiting the Shadow Moses incident in a whole new perspective as well as the memorable friends and foes Snake encountered during his mission.

Metal Gear AC!D (PSP/2004) - One of the first games of the PSP system when it was first launched in 2004, Metal Gear AC!D is a strategy-based action card game where players assume the role of Snake and Teliko as they infiltrate enemy territory with a collectible arsenal of cards, each with their own abilities to turn the tide of the battle.

Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater (PS2/2004) - The forgotten tale of Big Boss has been told in this prequel of the Metal Gear saga launched on the PS4 in late 2004. When Naked Snake's mission to rescue a Russian scientist ended in disaster, the US Government needs to prove its innocence to the world by sending Snake on a mission to kill his mentor, The Boss, who is now defected to the Soviet Union. Because it's set in the era of the Cold War, players rely on some old-school tactics to survive enemy territory such as collecting camouflage uniforms, hunt animals for food, search for arsenal of weapons, and more importantly, CQC. The definitive SUBSISTENCE edition, launched a year later, features additional content such as the first ever METAL GEAR ONLINE multiplayer and two classic Metal Gear games included, making it the perfect METAL GEAR experience for veterans and newcomers alike. It was part of the HD Edition alongside MGS2 since late 2011 on the PS3 and XBOX 360. Also, in Spring 2012, a 3DS version of the said game, titled METAL GEAR SOLID SNAKE EATER 3D, was launched, using the full capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS while revisiting the forgotten tale of Big Boss.

Metal Gear AC!D2 (PSP/2005) - Sequel to the 2004 spinoff, AC!D2 pits players assuming the role of either Snake or new agent Venus as they infiltrate on a research lab while taking on numerous enemies using a wide array of collectible cards as well as new ones inspired from past installments and other works. Some cards can even trigger 3D clips from either Snake Eater or from one of the gravure models.

Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops (PSP/2006) - Metal Gear Solid meets PSP for the first time as Portable Ops brings the same stealth action fans love in portable gaming. Set moments after Operation Snake Eater, Snake was captured by his former comrades at the San Hieronymo Peninsula and with the help of the young Roy Campbell, Snake needs to form a team to end FOX's reign of terror in the San Hieronymo Peninsula. This game introduces a Comrade System which allows players to play as a soldier they've captured and there are different kinds of soldiers to collect and play. They can even recruit one via password or Wi-Fi and with a well-trained army, they can take on multiplayer battles online or ad-hoc. A year later, a standalone game called MGS Portable Ops + was launched featuring additional soldiers to capture as well as new multiplayer modes to play.

Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots (PS3/2008) - When MGS4 was launched in the PS3 in the 12th of June, 2008, fans have been waited for years to play the most definitive installment of the Metal Gear Saga and whey they said "definitive" it really is because in the not-to-distant future when war means business and the rise of private military corporations (PMCs), Old Snake, and with the help of some old friends from the past, are on a globe-trotting mission to stop Liquid's plot for world domination. Featuring a wide range of customizable weapons, helpful gadgets, and a storyline to end all storylines, it's the ultimate Metal Gear experience and also, Metal Gear Online returns as a standalone game mode on MGS4 where players take on other players through different multiplayer modes.

Metal Gear Solid Touch (iPhone/iPod Touch/2009) - Metal Gear Solid goes mobile with the launch of Metal Gear Solid Touch on the iPhone and iPod Touch since Spring 2009. Based on the hit Guns of the Patriots game, players need to shoot their way through five chapters inspired from the said installment and use points for extra contents.

Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker (PSP/2010) - The MGS prequel saga continues in Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker. Launched in the Playstation Portable in the spring of 2010, Peace Walker sees the continuing story of Big Boss as he's on Costa Rica with the help of his new ally, Kaz Miller, taking on a new mission from a mysterious visitor to stop a powerful new threat. Peace Walker introduces players to Mother Base as for every time they captured a new soldier, it will became part of the crew and it is essential to develop new weapons and equipment that will be proven useful in harder missions. It is the first to introduce co-op gameplay where players work together to complete goals and take on tougher bosses. Life is great when you're cooperating with others as a team and thanks to the Transfarring feature provided in the HD Edition, launched on the PS3 in late 2011, players can continue where they left off everyone or play online either cooperatively or against others in multiplayer battles.

Metal Gear Solid Social Ops (Android/iPhone/2012) - In cooperation with Gree, Social Ops is an app-based game where players collect different cards ranging from characters and mech, based on rarity of course, that will help them turn the tide against a wave of opponents in different missions.

Metal Gear Rising REVENGEANCE (PS3/2013) - Launched exclusively on the PS3 in the winter of early 2013, this spinoff is a collaboration between Kojima Productions and Platinum Games, developers of mentally insane games such as Bayonetta and Vanquish. This is the first time a Metal Gear game that lets players kill everyone on sight and it's definitely the most BRUTAL hack-and-slash game ever made. As Raiden, he lives by the mantra of protecting the innocent right until a terrible incident that lead him fueled with the soul of revenge. Armed with the HF Blade, Raiden slashes his way through the villages of Eastern Europe, the sewers of Mexico, the streets of Denver, Colorado, the underbelly of World Marshal HQ, and all roads lead to the climactic battle in Pakistan, all for revenge.

Metal Gear Solid V GROUND ZEROES (PS3/PS4/XBOX One/XBOX 360/2014) - Served as the prologue for The Phantom Pain, Ground Zeroes sees Big Boss on a mission to infiltrate a US military base in Cuba while rescuing Chico and Paz following the dramatic conclusion in Peace Walker. After meeting certain conditions in the Ground Zeroes mission, players can take on additional missions as well as special Deja Vu and Jamais Vu missions.

Metal Gear Solid V THE PHANTOM PAIN (PS3/PS4/XBOX One/XBOX 360/PC/2015) - The Phantom Pain is the gripping conclusion to the Metal Gear Solid prequel saga where it centers on the legendary Big Boss awakened from a coma nine years after the destruction of Mother Base as seen on Ground Zeroes. Desperate for revenge, Venom Snake was accompanied by his trusted partner Benedict "Kazuhira" Miller, his former rival Revolver "Shalashaska" Ocelot, and his men from Diamond Dogs, as he vows to put an end to Cipher's dark conspiracy. Spanning from Afghanistan to Central Africa, the game gives players unprecedented stealth freedom in the form of open world gaming as well as treats in store from this game and the inevitable plot twists that will keep them guessing for more.

Metal Gear SURVIVE (PS4/XBOX One/PC/2018) - This will be the first ever Metal Gear game to be made following Kojima's departure from the Metal Gear franchise and in this upcoming multiplayer-focused co-op game, players will pit the role of one of the Mother Base soldiers who are ended up on a distorted dimension and they will need to work together as a group to survive a nightmare-filled landscape.

Kept you waiting, huh? Anyway, happy 30th anniversary to the Metal Gear saga and let's raise a cigar and some cardboard boxes to one of the greatest video game franchises in history. Here's hoping that even without its creator, the franchise will survive in the hearts of fans because the end is where they'll start from.

Audi RS5 II

Based on the second-generation Audi A5 Coupe, the all-new RS5 wants to be a serious rival to the likes of BMW's M4 and Mercedes-AMG's C63 Coupe, but what exactly is going on about this new and improved high-performance version of the A5 made by the skunk works of the recently renamed Audi Sport, formerly known as quatttro gmbH?

2018 Audi RS5
2018 Audi RS5
Being based on the all-new A5, the all-new Audi RS5 is even better looking than the previous model judging from its new aerodynamics that makes it as leathery as a leather jacket you worn from last night's bar brawl and the same goes to the interior which is also leathery by Audi standards. This is like putting more muscle to your cream biscuits and the thicker the cream, the more delicious it is and for the RS5, it's got more muscle on the design that will make it barely noticeable on the road.

2018 Audi RS5 interior
2018 Audi RS5 interior

So, when the new RS5 is becoming more muscular on the outside as well as on the inside, has it got more muscle on the performance, you might ask? Er, afraid not because for starters, the glorious 4.2L V8 from the previous model has been thrown away to the garbage bin (man, we're going to miss that noise) and in place, there's the new 2.9 TFSi V6 BiTurbo engine that produces 450PS of power and 600Nm of torque. With the 8-speed tiptronic transmission, which is almost as pointless as your nightly boardroom meeting on overtime, it does 0-100kph in 3.9 seconds with top speed normally limited to 250kph or with a little extra service that will raise the limit to 280kph.

That sounds like quick but by the way it sounds? It's like an average six-cylinder luxury saloon you might say and while it sounds so soothe, it's not as intimidating than the old model's V8 engine that some say that fires a droplet of petrol every time you make gear changes, producing more noise. While we're going to miss that glorious noise of that old-timer, that sound of the V6 twin turbo engine is not worthy enough to win the hearts of some speedo boys and that's just the half of the story.

Audi says that the new RS5 features a much improved dynamics courtesy of its new five-link construction on the front axle, the five-link suspension on the rear, the RS sport suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control, ceramic brakes, and dynamic steering with RS-specific tuning, but truth be told, it never changed the dynamics of this car, in fact it feels like it' been slightly improved. You can barely feel the difference on how you handle this all-wheel drive mongrel and while it has that all-wheel drive powertrain, which is very nice to drive in any kind of road, you can really feel the understeering every time you turn this car hard on the bends and because it doesn't have that glorious torque vectoring like you get on today's Mercedes E63 or a Ford Focus RS, you're like you're struggling to get it through the corner and this calls for more painkillers when your arms are feeling the aching sensation every time you handle this car very sharply like a pro. Quite an arm-breaking experience, isn't it?

Should you buy it? The new RS5 starts at 80,900 Euros plus on road costs and that's too much to pay than the BMW M4 Coupe, which remains one of the best high-performance luxury coupes to drive today, and expensive aside, what you get is a new RS5 that almost feels like the last time, except it's lost some of its charm due to downsizing terms and despite the added power that will upset the others, it's the handling you should be worrying about as well as your arms because of that understeering despite having quattro on this car.

Photo: Audi AG

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Toyota Noah/VoxyEsquire - 2018 Minor Change

Toyota's minivan triplets, the family-oriented Noah, the strikingly aggressive Voxy, and the upper-class luxury minivan for all, the Esquire, have been given minor facelifts for the 2018 model year and apart from their revised changes mostly on the outside, the true change to these minivans lies to the implementation of Toyota Safety Sense C. More for that later on but first...

2018 Toyota Noah
2018 Toyota Voxy
2018 Toyota Esquire

Let's look at the what's new on the design stakes and because these vans are different to each other despite donning the same specs, the Noah now sports a much conservative, yet stylish design fit for all kinds of soccer moms of all corners of the Japanese household, while the Voxy now became more of a Vellfire look-alike, which explains a lot for a Netz-sold minivan like the Voxy, while the Esquire's Majesta-inspired front design has been made even more luxurious, which sounds okay for a cut-price Alphard of that caliber. Inside, there's nothing new on the similar six-or-seven seater formula, only now that the navigation screen's change as well as the information display on the top center of the dashboard, which is even more vibrant than the previous model.

2018 Toyota Noah interior
2018 Toyota Voxy interior
2018 Toyota Esquire interior

Engine choices remain the same as always as all three minivans still offer a choice of either 2.0L 3ZR-FAE engine and the hybrid model with the 1.8L engine connected to an electric motor and nickel metal battery. On the hybrid model, combined power output is 136PS and fuel economy of 23.8km/L, calculated in JC08 Mode standards. For the 2.0L petrol variant, it produces 152PS of power and 193Nm of torque. It even comes with the idling stop system that cuts off the engine when stop and then starts it again when on the move. Fuel economy is 16.0km/L, again, calculated in JC08 Mode standards.

2018 Toyota Noah
2018 Toyota Voxy
2018 Toyota Esquire
Now, we get to the really important bit as all three minivans receive Toyota Safety Sense C, comprising of Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, and the Automatic High Beam function. Couple that with every known safety tech available on these minivans and the result that these vans will be capable enough to handle today's traffic condition while going on their next road trip from one prefecture after another in this summer escapade. Handy, isn't it?

The 2018 Model Year Toyota Noah and Voxy starts at 2,466,720 Yen for the petrol model while their hybrid variants start at 3,014,280 Yen. The 2018MY Esquire, on the other hand, starts at 2,675,160 Yen for the petrol variant and 3,151,440 Yen for the hybrid variant.

Photo: Toyota Motor Corporation

Honda Grace (2018 Minor Change)

The Honda Grace, the four-door saloon equivalent of today's Honda Fit/Jazz, has been given a facelift and for this facelift, it isn't just more than just revising its looks but also adds some driving tech to make it capable on today's traffic conditions.

2018 Honda Grace
2018 Honda Grace
So, what's new on the design department? Well, the Grace now has some redesigned headlights, a more slimmer Civic-inspired chrome bar which now extends over the headlights, redesigned grille, redesigned rear design, and some small changes on the inside such as the advanced multi-info instrument cluster and optional InterNavi navigation system now comes with smartphone connectivity

2018 Honda Grace interior
2018 Honda Grace interior

While the design is new to this model, the powertrain remains the same as the Grace is still offered with the choice of 1.5L DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine with 22km/L of fuel efficiency based on JC08 Mode standards and the SPORT HYBRID i-DCD Hybrid System combining a 1.5L engine with a seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox containing an integrated, high-output electric motor powered by the car’s lithium-ion batteries. Like as examined in the facelifted Fit, it's been recalibrated so that now, fuel efficiency has now been bumped to 34.8km/L, .4km/L more than the pre-facelifted model but expect the stats won't last long due to the incoming WTLC Mode standards coming very soon to expose the real fuel efficiency records on every car sold in Japan.

Aside from the upgrades on the HYBRID variant, the 2018MY Honda Grace now comes with Honda Sensing which comprises of Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), autonomous Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Road Departure Warning (RDW) and Mitigation (RDM), false start suppression, traffic sign detection and a vehicle start warning. Truth be told, the new Fit is becoming even more accessible for everyone who wished to have a car in the beginning.

The 2018 Honda Grace starts at 1,769,040 Yen for the base petrol variant and 1,979,640 Yen for the Hybrid variant.

Available colors: White Orchid Pearl, Luna Silver Metallic, Crystal Black Pearl, Rousse Black Metallic, Midnight Blue Beam Metallic, Brilliant Sporty Blue Metallic, and Premium Crystal Red Metallic.

Photo: Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: US will use force on NoKor if so

The United States cautioned it was ready to use force against North Korea's nuclear missile program but said it preferred global diplomatic action against the Korean Peninsula for defying world powers by test launching a ballistic missile that could hit Alaska.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told a meeting of the UN Security Council that the North's actions were "quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution" and the United States was prepared to defend itself and its allies.

Speaking with his Japanese counterpart on Wednesday, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis underscored the “ironclad commitment” of the United States to defending Japan and providing “extended deterrence using the full range of U.S. capabilities,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement. Mattis' assurances to Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada came during a phone call to discuss the North Korean test, the statement said.

Source: Reuters

Let's Do The News! (July 6, 2017)

- A Lanao Del Sur official reacts on the recent deployment in Marawi City of two Mandaluyong Police accused of abusing a resident they arrested due to a violation of a city ordinance. The official said the deployment of PO1 Julius Tandog and Chito Enriquez in their city is a big insult to the military and police who paid an ultimate sacrifice for defending peace in the area.

- Members of the Metro Manila Development Authority admits to having problems in apprehending motorists as they start implementing the revised Anti Distracted Driving Act.

- The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration is monitoring a low pressure area inside the Philippine Area of Responsibility. The LPA was last spotted 625km northeast of Basco, Batanes, and it has little chance to affect any part of the country.

- At least 10 people were missing and 400,000 were forced to evacuate from their homes after ecord rains battered southwestern Japan for a second day on Thursday, sending rivers surging over their banks, according to reports. Parts of Fukuoka prefecture on the southwestern island of Kyushu were hit by 774 mm (30.5 inches) of rain in nine hours on Wednesday, about 2.2 times the amount of rain that falls in a normal July.

- The United States is prepared to discuss with Russia for their joint efforts to stabilize Syria, including no-fly zones, according to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He added the US wanted to discuss with Russia the use of on-the-ground ceasefire observers and the coordinated delivery of humanitarian aid to Syrians.

- UNESCO removed Australia's Great Barrier Reef from their "in danger" list.

- Government supporters burst into Venezuelan opposition-controlled congress on Wednesday, attacking and besieging lawmakers in the latest flare-up of violence during a political crisis. The melee was another worrying flashpoint in a traumatic last three months for the South American OPEC nation, shaken by opposition protests against socialist president Nicolas Maduro.

- Swiss watch maker, Omega, unveiled a special edition Seamaster Diver 300M "Commander's Watch" in honor of Agent 007 James Bond's "commander" rank, as mentioned in the 007 movie franchise.

- Ford made a special one-off F-150 Raptor themed after the F-22 Raptor, the premiere stealth fighter of the US Air Force. It is set to be auctioned by the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture Oshkosh show to benefit the agency's youth education programs.

- Mercedes-Benz teases the production version of their first-ever X-Class Pickup truck before its July 18 world premiere.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup - Coke Zero 400

In the midst of the Independence Day weekend, the Monster Energy NASCAR series returned to Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola event, where drivers got more than just readying the fireworks and the grill for a weekend to remember.

Sparks aside, this race scored multiple wreckage than any other race in this series. One in lap 70 when Kyle Busch goes around in front of three or four of their cars, another one in 80 when Kevin Harvick spins around, and in lap 153 when Kyle Larson's wall collision got his car airborne and a massive collision comes in.

After one disaster after another in this exciting race event that is more than just fireworks in the Independence Day weekend, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wins the race.

Next race is on Kentucky on the 8th of July.

Forza Horizon 3: Best of American muscle classics

While most Americans spend their independence readying the fireworks and the grill, I do my own way to celebrate American independence by driving out the best of American muscle classics in Forza Horizon 3.

Sure, there are lots of iconic muscle names in automotive history but I've gone for the names that once a muscle, stays as a muscle in modern times in alphabetical order; Camaro, Challenger, Charger, and Mustang.

Once as the underdog when it first emerged in the battle of the muscle cars dominated by the Ford Mustang, the Camaro tries to show what General Motors is capable of in this kind of civil war but whereas the Mustang reigned supreme as well as the Charger and the Challenger, the Camaro failed to do so and I understand that. Despite the Camaro's failure that led to its 2002 demise, the Camaro's coming back fighting as demonstrated by being Bumblebee in the Transformers movies and thanks to its newfound popularity, the Camaro won the hearts of many generations. Fame aside, let's not forget about how the unpopular first-generation Camaro came here which is like an ugly duckling turned into a swan with magnificent results and if it weren't for this, there wouldn't be a Bumblebee in the Transformers films.

The Challenger was once served as an alternative to the Charger and while the Charger was proven to be an icon apart from being General Lee in the Dukes of Hazzard TV show, the Challenger wants to follow its brother's footsteps by getting its shot of fame in Vanishing Point but sadly, it wasn't as popular as its Charger brother. Although today's Charger is a four-door saloon, the Challenger managed to come back as a modern day alternative to Mustangs and Camaros and just as we thought the Challenger is becoming the muscle car that never was in today's times, it managed to find its triumphant return to the road with the most powerful V8 car in the world as well as the first-ever 4WD muscle car ever produced. While the Challenger has a lot of tricks on its sleeves, the original is the car we should be thankful for because if it weren't for its presence, we wouldn't got the most powerful V8 car today.

The original Dodge Charger R/T holds no explanation because as I said before, the Duke boys drove one in the Dukes of Hazzard TV series as the General Lee, named after a Confederate soldier (which explains a lot from the highly controversial Confederate flag on the roof of the car). Although the Confederate flag remains one of the most controversial objects in history because of such background, a General Lee without it is like living like a complete poser. That's why fans want to keep it that way and I understand that. General Lee aside, this iconic Charger has been one of the forefront of The Fast and the Furious films and if I was Vin Diesel, I believe that the classic Charger remains a favorite. Sure, today's four-door Chargers also dominate the F&F films but credit goes to the Charger that is not only approved by the Dukes of Hazzard but also Dom from the Fast & Furious movies.

Lastly, the Mustang, and while Mustangs became one of the most iconic movie cars of all time since Steve McQueen drove one in Bullitt, the best of the first-generation Mustang goes to the Boss 302 because of its motorsport pedigree that traces back to its Trans-Am Racing and by surprise, the Australian Touring Cars. Pedigree aside, the Boss 302 remains one of the most respected Mustangs in the golden age of muscle cars and also of the most collectible Mustangs for the high-rollers with a restored Boss fetched a $530,000 price tag a decade ago.

These American classic muscles, they do more than just fireworks and grilles but also showing proof that America is great when it comes to flexing their big V8 muscles against the world. Sure, the whole world love to spit them up when they see one but when times change, they will see that cars like these are becoming the posters of the world superpower and soon, they will all bow down to their greatness. That all sounds scary but that's America to you, the land of the most powerful V8s in the world, and to celebrate American independence, time to get these muscle car icons the salute they truly deserved and this will be much more fun to see than fireworks and grilles.

Thank you America for the fast cars through the years!

Let's Do The News! (July 5, 2017)

The Land Transportation Office is set to start implementing the Anti-Distracted Driving Act tomorrow. LTO executive Director for Law enforcement Unit, Francis Almora, said government agencies will use high quality CCTV cameras to monitor drivers violating ADDA.

- President Rodrigo Duterte approved the Php3.767 trillion proposed 2018 national budget that will be asked by Congress during the President’s second State of the Nation Address. Next year’s fund is higher by 12.4 percent, contrary to last year’s Php3.35 Trillion.

- One of the three suspects in the massacre in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan was found dead. Some say, before being killed, Rolando Pacino aka Inggo was tortured. Pacino’s body was found under a tree in Palmera Drive, Phase 7 Brgy. Sto. Cristo around 0630 Tuesday.

Philippine National Police Chief Dir.Gen. Ronald Dela Rosa is set to recommend the extension of the implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao. According to him, the extension of the martial law President Duterte implemented months ago will speed up the rehabilitation in the said region.

- A northeastern Chinese hospital has invited medical experts from the United States and Germany to help treat Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo for cancer, according to the local government.

- Numerous people were struck by gunfire in Chicago, some of them fatally, during the traditionally violent Fourth of July weekend. From Friday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon, about 60 people were shot with eight of them kille, according to reports.

- Renault's Espace MPV range is now available with the new Energy TCe 225 EDC engine sourced from the new Alpine A110.

- Swedish car company Volvo is set to electrify its entire vehicle lineup within the next two years.

- Korean superstars Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo will be married this October.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: North fired missile ahead of G20 summit

North Korea launched a ballistic missile from its western region into the sea of its east coast on Tuesday, according to South Korean military, ahead of a summit of leaders from the G20 in Germany later this week.

The missile flew for about 40 minutes and may have landed into Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone, the Japanese government said, adding that it had strongly protested what was a clear violation of UN resolutions.

The missile was launched around 0040 GMT from an airfield in Panghyon, about 100 km (60 miles) northwest of the North’s capital, Pyongyang, the South Korean military said.

The recent launch is the last since the Korean Peninsula fired numerous cruise missiles in early June and comes ahead of the leaders of the US, China, Japan, and South Korea expected to discuss efforts to rein in the North's nuclear and missile test at the G20 summit on the 7th and 8th of July. It also comes ahead of July 4 Independence Day celebrations in the United States. North Korea has previously fired missiles around this U.S. holiday.

Earlier, North Korea was a key topic in phone calls between U.S. President Donald Trump and the leaders of China and Japan. Leaders of both Asian countries reaffirmed their commitment to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. South Korean leader Moon Jae-in called a national security council meeting for 0230 GMT after being informed on the missile launch.

Source: Reuters

Let's Do The News! (July 4, 2017)

- The Department of Education condemns the killing of a newly promoted official in Zamboanga Del Sur. School Division Superintendent Marcom Borongan was shot dead at the Teacher’s Center, San Jose Heights in Pagadian City amid the thanksgiving and turnover ceremony on Monday night.

- The Department of National Defense chief, Delfin Lorenzana, confirmed that Abu Sayyaf and known ISIS leader in Asia Isnilon Hapilon and Maute Group Leader Abdullah are still in Marawi City, Lanao Del Sur believed to be hiding in one of the Mosques in the city.

- Protesters staged a rally coinciding with the celebration of the US Independence Day on July 4, 2017 in Manila. Groups Bayan and Gabriela marched through the US Embassy in Kalaw.

- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie brushed off criticism recently after he was caught taking a break from dealing with a government shutdown to lounge on a state beach that was closed to the public during the July Fourth holiday weekend.

- Nine people are reportedly killed and dozens suffered burn injuries when a boiler exploded at a garment factory in Bangladesh, according to fire officials. The incident occurred late on Monday on the outskirts of the capital, Dhaka, they said.

- BMW previewed their upcoming i8 Roadster with a special clip.

- Shooting for the Fantastic Beasts sequel film has begun with new plot details released.

- A certain netizen asks the MTRCB to review a certain Gandang Gabi Vice episode where presenter Vice Ganda accidentally touches a man part of guest star McCoy de Leon.

- Paula Fairfield, Game of Thrones sound designer, confirms that there will be longer episode in the 7th and 8th (the final) season of the hit HBO TV series. She said during an event in Nashville, TN.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Let's Do The News! (July 3, 2017)

- Following last weekend's controversial Brisbane fight, Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn both willing to go fighting each other again sometime. Some say, the rematch is expected to scheduled this December at the same time as the recess of the Senate.

- President Rodrigo Duterte challenged the Communist Party of the Philippines to cease fighting against the government and continue the peace talks. Duterte promised that he is willing to declare total ceasefire if the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army is also prepared to announce a ceasefire.

- Amid anti-G20 protests, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said leaders will have to focus on sustainable and inclusive economic growth rather than their own prosperity. In her weekly podcast, Merkel said this year’s G20 summit will delve into issues championed by protesters such as distribution of wealth and consumption of resources.

- An Amtrak train with over 250 people aboard derailed near Puget Sound in Washington state, injuring several passengers, although no one was believed to have been seriously hurt, according to officials.

- The United States lifted the ban on laptops in cabins on flights from Abu Dhabi to the US, saying that Etihad Airways had put in place required tighter security measures.

- Nissan showcased another teaser for their next-generation Leaf EV.

- Honda teases an upcoming facelift for the StepWGN where a hybrid variant will be added.

- Tesla's Model S saloon and Model X crossover gained several performance upgrades courtesy of new software and hardware rollouts.

- This year's Anime Expo launched to overwhelming crowds on its first day on Saturday, so much so that attendees found themselves gridlocked in multi-hour wait lines to get through the security to enter the Los Angeles Convention Center. The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation published a statement to acknowledge the situation which can be READ HERE.


Forza Horizon 3: The new Corsa VXR

If you are enjoying the all-new Vauxhall Corsa VXR, which is part of the Forza Horizon 3 Playseat Car Pack, you are noticing that why they made an ultra-powerful hot hatch in the first place that will beat supercars in the race to the nearest parking lot and because of its compact sizing, squeezing through the turns that supercars are having a hard time to deal with is not too shabby and the VXR always saves the day.

So, the Vauxhall Corsa VXR, what is it then? This ultra-powerful hot-hatch sets a new standard for small and fast hatchbacks and because it's powered by a 1.6L turbocharged engine producing 205PS of power and 245Nm of torque while mated to a manual gearbox, it does 0-60mph in six and a half seconds and a top speed of 143mph, faster than the previous model it replaces. Aside from this performance, the Corsa VXR comes with Frequency Selective Damping, developed by Koni, to maintain body control during high speeds and ride quality during low speeds while delivering an even more responsive steering. With the Performance Package, it comes with a Drexler LSD, larger-diameter Brembo front brake discs, 18-inch alloys, and a recalibrated FSD damper settings.

Despite being small in size, its dynamics should not be underestimated and for the case of the Corsa VXR, you'll never know what sort of tricks will this hatchback pull off and because being a hot hatch, you can have the same kind of thrill that you experienced from a supercar while delivering accessible dynamics fit for all kinds of drivers. If you were either experienced or inexperienced, driving a hot hatch like this one is like a good starting point to understand the twists and turns the Land Down Under has to offer and for a car with such accessible dynamics, you don't have to prove a thing to show how much of a driver you really are.

Because of such dynamics that made me impressed by the VXR, let's see how much of a hot hatch the Corsa VXR is and to do that, let's drive this car somewhere to the Outback to challenge against those tater tots and tiaras in waiting but first...

Ladies and gentlemen, Ako Saotome...isn't here today. That's just a design I made just for this and for a tater tot of this size, that just suits it rather well in a game where the Corsa VXR takes on the likes of Clios, Fiestas, and 500s. Well, the one with the 500 Abarth is what bugged me the most because when the Corsa VXR takes on the most hardcore 500 of all, the Abarth 695, things get even more dirtier than dumpster diving in the rain, but seeing this as an opportunity to demonstrate the Corsa VXR's dynamics, time to get the ball running and see what happens.

That was a close call but it's proof that the Corsa VXR is one of the most enjoyable hot hatch to drive to date and with such dynamics courtesy of the Performance Package provided and this car as well as some added charms I done to this little tyke, I think I may have found my favorite hot hatch to drive over and over again...or is it? I'm not sure but let's keep driving the VXR before I passed out from boredom as long as this special something I made for this keeps me company. Until then, the journey continues...
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