Tuesday, August 22, 2017

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: North Korean shipments to Syria intercepted according to UN report

Two North Korean shipments heading to a Syrian government agency responsible for the country's chemical weapons programme were intercepted in the past six months, according to a confidential United Nations report on North Korea sanctions violations.

The report by a panel of independent experts, which was submitted to the UNSC earlier this month, gave no details on when or where the interdictions occurred or what the shipments contained.

In a 37-page report, the panel is investigating reported prohibited chemical, ballistic missile, and conventional arms cooperation between Syria and the Korean Peninsula. Two member states interdicted Syria-bound shipments while another member state informed the panel that it had reasons to believe that the goods were part of a KOMID contract with Syria.

KOMID is the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation, which was blacklisted by the Security Council eight years ago and described as Pyongyang’s key arms dealer and exporter of equipment related to ballistic missiles and conventional weapons. In March 2016 the council also blacklisted two KOMID representatives in Syria.

According to the UN experts, the consignees are Syrian entities designated as shell companies for Syria's Scientific Studies and Research Centre, which has overseen the country's chemical weapons programme since the 1970's.

Source: Reuters

Let's Do The News! (August 22, 2017)

- Senator Richard Gordon is willing to surrender his post from the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. This is his response to the the proposal of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to replace the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee head. Senator Gordon believes that the request to remove him as chairman of the said panel was due to a misunderstanding between him and Sen. Trillanes.

- Resigned BOC Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon welcomes President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to replace him with PDEA Chief Isidro Lapena. Faeldon claims that the replacement was ‘the best for the country’ because if he remained in office it would only cause the public division amidst the administration’s battle against illegal drugs.

- The Marikina River is now on alert level two after water levels reached 16 meters past 0800 local time today.

- Millions of Americans earlier today witnessed the first total solar eclipse to cross the continental US in seven decades. The eclipse was first seen on Central Oregon at around 1017 hours Pacific time and then the path of totality ended at around 1436 hours Eastern time in South Carolina.

- After being jailed for unlawful assembly, Hong Kong democracy leader Joshua Wong was summoned again to court for an ongoing contempt of court charge related to the 2014 Umbrella Movement.

- The new BMW F90 M5 was unveiled and for the first time, it comes with the brand new M xDrive that allows the new, 4.4L V8 Twin Turbo, 600PS, M5, to be switched at either all-wheel drive with DSC on or rear-wheel drive with DSC off.

2018 BMW M5
- In celebration of the unveiling of the new BMW M5, check out the new trailer for the upcoming Need For Speed Payback game where the new BMW M5, exclusive to this game, outrun the Fortune Valley cops.

- Porsche will unveil the new, third-generation Cayenne, on the 29th of August.

- Koenigsegg unveiled the Regera Aero Package at last weekend's Monterey Car Week, featuring 385kg of downforce and the world's first 800v electrical system in a production car.

- The first teaser trailer for the upcoming Shenmue III game is now up. The sequel game arrives on 2018 for the PS4 and PC.



THE IDOLM@STER is back with a brand new CD range that goes beyond retro with the covers while focusing on a certain theme per installment. Welcome to the MASTER PRIMAL range.

What is MASTER PRIMAL, you may ask? Well, this is what you expect here in this first installment of this new range from Nippon Columbia because in this installment, the stars of this cover are donning signature outfits for nostalgic purposes while focusing on a specific color and genre.

This installment is called ROCKIN RED and the genre in focus is rock, something unheard for a 765 Pro song in ages, and the 765 Production idols in focus are Haruka Amami (Eriko Nakamura), Chihaya Kisaragi (Asami Imai), Ritsuko Akizuki (Naomi Wakabayashi), and Takane Shijou (Yumi Hara).

ROCKIN RED features three new songs focusing on the genre on this installment. First up, all of the idols in focus are performing BRAVE STAR. Then, Haruka and Chihaya are performing CRIMSON LOVERS. And finally, Ritsuko and Takane are performing 聖炎の女神. Finishing the ROCKIN RED installment is a brand new audio drama starring, well, you get the idea.

It's great to see your favorite 765 Production idols back where they belong for a new CD lineup with an odd name, retro cover, unique genre, and a color theme. That's Primal, ladies and gentlemen.

Oh, and for limited quantities, each copy comes with a serial code that will give you a chance to win tickets for October's HOTCH POTCH Festival starring the 765 Million All-Stars. Good luck!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Winners of the Pokemon World Championships 2017

It's the time of the year when the best ace trainers from a multitude of countries gathered for the annual Pokemon World Championships and for this year, the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, is jam-packed with people who love Pokemon and the professionals who are aiming for the top spot, be it Sun and Moon, Card Game, or even Pokken Tournament. There's even sneak peeks for the upcoming Ultra Sun and Moon games as well as new expansions for the Pokemon Card Game.

So, with this year's Pokemon World Championships wrapped up, let's get to know the winners of this year's WCS.

  • Tobias Stromdahl from Norway wins the Pokemon Card Game Junior Division Final thanks to his strategic use of a Guzma supporter card against his opponent.
  • Zachary Bokhari from the USA wins the Pokemon Card Game Senior Division Final after an intense game three against his rival compatriot.
  • Argentina's Diego Cassiraga wins the Pokemon Card Game Masters Division Final, marking his third top-8 finish in 13 years he has attended the WCS.
  • Nicholas Kan from Australia wins the Video Game Championship Junior Division Final thanks to his devastating combination of Gyarados' Supersonic Skystrike Z-move and an uncanny strategy he did with his Snorlax.
  • Hong Juyong from South Korea wins the Video Game Championship Senior Division Final against his familiar foe from last year's quarterfinal bout.
  • Ryota Otsubo from Japan wins the Video Game Championship Masters Division Final after his opponent's Z-move ended in disaster.
  • Tonosama wins the Pokken Tournament World Championship

Next year, the Pokemon World Championships are heading to Nashville, Tennessee, the Music City. Until then, don't miss Pokken Tournament DX coming to Nintendo Switch this September 22 and Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon coming to Nintendo 3DS this November.

Congratulations to the winners of this year's Pokemon WCS.

Top Gear America - Drive Your Life

This Top Gear Episode is a fast episode, an episode where the boys are pushing themselves over the limit in the name of speed.

Antron Brown, as an NHRA World Champion, gives Tom Ford a crash course about drag racing and then later, the two set off for a drag duel between these two.

Meanwhile, Bill Fichtner tries out Cadillac's fastest saloon, the new Cadillac CTS-V. A super saloon that breaks the perception of a four-door saloon. When handed to The Stig, it does a 1:11.72 lap time.

Later, Wookie gets busted and then sends off to a police driving school to try out their newest additionn to their fleet, a Dodge Charger Pursuit.

Haley Joel Osment is this episode's celebrity guest and because he has troubles in a manual-tranny Civic hatch, not only he broke the Civic, but set a catastrophic 4:47.22 lap time!

This episode ends where Antron's day job as a drag racing champion is showcased.

Let's Do The News! (August 21, 2017)

- Senator Ping Lacson warns that he will reveal the list of Bureau of Customs officials who have received cash bribery in regards to the smuggled Php 6.4 billion worth of shabu shipment.

- About 499 people have reportedly died in last week's devastating landslide near the Sierra Leone capital Freetown, according to the city's chief coroner. One of Africa’s worst flooding-related disasters in years occurred when the side of Mount Sugar Loaf collapsed on Monday after heavy rain, burying parts of Regent town and overwhelming relief efforts in one of the world’s poorest countries.

- US President Donald Trump to present vision for the country's strategy for the war in Afghanistan, America's longest military conflict. In a prime-time speech to the nation, Trump may announce a modest increase in U.S. troops, as recommended by his senior advisers.

- New Zealand opposition leader, Jacinda Arden, is now embroiled in the second sexism row not even a month after taking the reins of the Labour Party and almost single-handedly reigniting its chances at a national election in September.

- Mercedes-Benz unveiled the Vision Maybach 6 Cabriolet Concept at the Pebble Beach Concours. Underneath its stylish looks comes an electric powerplant that produces 550kW of power output and over 500km of range according to the NEDC.

- General Motors Holden joins Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford, Isuzu, and Mazda in the first-ever SuperUtes race next year using their Colorado pickup truck.

- Honda is producing new replacement parts for the legendary Beat kei-roadster such as tail lights, license plate lights, heater blowers, seat belts, wheels, tires, and so on.

- ICYMI: THE IDOLM@STER voice actress Azumi Asakura announced her marriage.

- Attack on Titan 2 video game by Koei Tecmo Games is set for early 2018 release, with Omega Force returns to develop the sequel game with new features.


2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup - Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race

A weekend before the Great American Eclipse hits their work day, it's "Saturday Night Drive" at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee, for the annual Bristol Night Race where history has been made once again in the heat of the Monster Energy NASCAR series.

Bristol Motor Speedway has been a sacred pilgrimage for every NASCAR fanatics in America because with all that swearing and all that crash courses occurred through the years as well as the heated rivalries carved there, what can they say? "It's Bristol, Baby!"

For this year's race, Kyle Busch swept away pole leader Erik Jones to win the race. Right before his Monster Energy series win, Busch took care of both the Camping World series and the Xfinity series races held there, marking his complete sweep of all three NASCAR touring series on a Saturday night.

Busch is the only NASCAR driver to score the three-series sweep in the same week at the same track since seven years ago and now, he's done it again.

Next race is at Darlington Raceway, South Carolina, for the Bojangles Southern 500 race on the 3rd of September.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Riding with the Carnival

For over a year, my sister Elise and my brother-in-law drove a third-generation Kia Sorento for miles after miles, especially my dad and my sister Bea. Whether if it used to go from one city after another or one of our favorite points of interest, this crossover made a special place in our hearts but now, in anticipation of my sister having a third child, her Sorento crossover's replaced with a minivan that is not fit for today's neighborhood but an important charm point for an ever-growing family like hers.

As I'm sure you know, this is the current-generation Kia Carnival (Sedona) but it's a lot different to the Carnival I'm familiar with apart from the looks becausr what's under the hood is not what it seems.

The Carnival we have here is powered by a Lambda II 3.3L GDi V6 engine, the same engine used in the K7 saloon, producing 280PS of power and mated to a six-speed gearbox. In other words, it's like a Kia K7 with so much seats and space for the whole family like my sister's. In South Korea, you can now avail a V6 Carnival for 35.8 million Korean Won we live in America, and a localized version of the Carnival, known as the Sedona, doesn't have a fourth-row seats like you get in the land of Koreanovelas. We got just the eight-seater variant, which is less than what the Koreans had but it's very accommodating and roomy indeed.

Anyway, here's a little story. My sister Elise and the family are coming to our cousin's home for her baby's birthday party somewhere in Kent. I told Mom and Dad I should be with Elise and they agreed. When the time came to step out from the house, I am a little excited about getting in to the Carnival. Trouble was the only seat reserved for me is the dreaded third row but thanks to its adjustable second-row seating, even if its occupied by child seats, I can get in and out of the third row seat without question and that's it. One thing that amazed me that this car has Apple CarPlay but I'm too far to try it out and ai wish I want to experience it to myself while on the move.

When it's time to set off, I got the chance to see what is like in a V6-powered Carnival. At cruising speeds, it was nice and comfortable, but in the case of residential speeds or highway speeds, I can feel its jittering vibrations at the back, only slightly, of course. Vibrations aside, despite being a heavy and thirsty car which consumes more than the Sorento we used to have, the powerful V6 Carnival handles like every other car I've been through and while it been through different points of interests my sister and her family had, this van gets from one point to another without a slouch.

After experiencing my first ride with the new Carnival, we arrived at Kent to visit our cousin's house for her baby boy's birthday party. I got pictures I am too happy to show you all.

And there you have it. So, what can I say?

Although big, thirsty, and jittering at high speeds, the V6-powered Kia Carnival feels like it's home even in today's neighborhood where SUVs became a norm in the suburbs. Apart from being spacious and accessible, it's very luxurious and comfortable indeed. In fact, it kinda reminds me of a time I rode someone's Hyundai Starex a decade ago but this is no Starex here. This is the Carnival I'm talking about and looks like we have to spend the whole year with this minivam but when the time comes to replace it, it's my sister's call.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Logan Lucky

What happens when you made a film about two boys staging a high-stakes heist while in a middle of a NASCAR event somewhere in North Carolina? From the folks behind Ocean's Eleven comes a late-summer treat for petrolheads and hillbillies everywhere that you can spit your tobacco gum at while dawdle at the boys' zany misfits of robbing a pile of cash in the heat of a race.

Logan Lucky
Logan Lucky is a high-octane, gum-spitting, laugh riot which features an eclectic cast of characters ever assembled from the Mississippi river. With Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Katherine Waterston, Seth MacFarlane, Katie Holmes, Sebastian Stan, Hilary Swank, and Daniel Craig, an all-star ensemble of brains and brawns makes Logan Lucky a unique laugh riot to see before summer ends.

In an effort to avert their family misfortune, brothers Jimmy and Clyde are setting off to North Carolina to stage a robbery during an epic NASCAR event happening at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Of course, as a heist, things can get messy because with some interesting characters in store for them, life couldn't get even messier than this.

This film marks Steven Soderbergh's return to the heist movie genre and come to think of it, Logan Lucky kind of feels like Ocean's Eleven edited for rednecks just like that old Family Guy joke of a certain science show edited for rednecks with a hint of Mountain Dew on it. From every angle, this film doesn't feel too modern for a comedy heist movie and whether this film reflects American society of today, it feels like you'll end up getting belched by its moonshine-induced madness this film delivers.

Although being a redneck heist movie, this film really is good. In fact, the crowds are raving over how unique and how original this comedy heist film is. In fact, it's a clear sign that the man behind the Ocean's trilogy is back in business and who knew he can assemble a ragtag cast of characters to create a film that packs some crashes, burnt rubber, explosions, beer, BBQ, and moolah, making it a fitting end to the summer blockbuster season no matter how salty or how sour this film is. In fact, no one's going to blame the film's redneck charm point you'd expect from the man behind the hit heist films.

My rating: 3.8 out of 5

Bubble Gang - August 18, 2017 #BGExpress

On the August 18, 2017 episode of Bubble Gang...

- Van gags

- Life in a day at the office

- A different kind of gang war

- Let's play SPELLING BEKS!

- She keeps on calling other men's names...

- Keeping up with their fair share...

- A different kind of hospital

- Basa-basa-pik

Friday, August 18, 2017

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: UN sanctions against NK affects China

 The UN's latest sanctions against North Korea are apparently having an effect on China.

Reports told that scores of trucks carrying seafood from North Korea are being turned back at customs in the northeaster Chinese city of Hunchun after Beijing introduced a ban on seafood, coal, and iron ore on Monday.

It also reported that another ban on bringing in new workers from the North would mean that North Korean restaurants in China will soon be short-staffed.

The state-run restaurants are already reported to have seen a significant fall in customers this year.

Source: Arirang News

Let's Do The News! (August 18, 2017)

- President Rodrigo Duterte revealed that Bureau of Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon had asked to be removed from his post three times. During his speech in Ozamiz City, the president addressed the issue regarding the corruption in the agency he admitted his fault in appointing several BoC officials who became instruments in the smuggling of Php 6.4 billion worth of shabu from China.

- About 80 suspects were killed this week after escalation in the Philippines' bloody war on drugs as police killed at least 13 people in Manila on the third night of an escalation of President Duterte's bloody war on drugs.

- US President Donald Trump denounced the removal of Confederate monuments, echoing white nationalists and drawing stinging rebukes from fellow Republicans in a controversy that has inflamed racial tensions. Trump has alienated Republicans, corporate leaders and U.S. allies, rattled markets and prompted speculation about possible White House resignations with his comments since Saturday’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, which came in the aftermath of a white nationalist protest against the removal of a Confederate statue.

- China's top training school for the Communist Party cadres has published a book on President Xi Jinping's experiences during the Cultural Revolution, exhorting party members to learn from the events that drove his “unshaken pursuit of ideals”. The book's release comes as Xi seeks to further cement his grip on power at a key five-yearly party congress to be held this autumn.

- The grandson of the late Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father and ruler of Singapore for over three decades, said he left the city in July after friends expressed concerns he might be detained by the authorities in a contempt of court case.

- The BMW Z4 Concept has been unveiled ahead of its 2017 Concours d'Elegance at Pebble Beach next week. The concept serves as a preview of the next-generation Z4 which Toyota will share most of its components for its new co-developed sportscar.

- Roy Lunn passed away at the age of 92. Lunn is coined as the "godfather of the Ford GT40" according to Ford. Roy Lunn was born in England and after being an RAF pilot in the Second World War, he worked at AC and Aston Martin before moving to America in 1958 and joining Ford.

- Deep Silver, a subsidiary of Koch Media, will be the publisher of the highly-anticipated Shenmue III game for the PS4 and PC coming in the second-half of 2018.

- Bullet journaling lovers, the Hobo Nikkan Ito Shinbun, makers of the very popular Hobonichi Techo journals, introduced the entire 2018 lineup. New for 2018, the new Hobonichi techo features a selection of 79 covers to add some style to their Hobonichi customization. For those who are planning to buy the 2018 Hobonichi Techo variants in Original, Planner, Cousin, and Weeks can choose a wide variety of covers, some are exclusive to the Hobonichi web store. The Hobonichi Techo 2018 range will be on sale to the general public on the 1st of September but customers can start order one when all shop pages released on the 28th of August.

- Haruka Amami joins Phat Company's THE IDOLM@STER anime DVD/BD cover figure lineup as the last addition to the range. This final addition's ready for order starting at 11,000 yen plus taxes and delivery and arrives this April. Complete the collection now.


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