Saturday, January 23, 2016

The 5th Wave

Movie adaptations of best-selling books, especially young adult dystopian ones, are becoming more common even post-Hunger Games times because while these stories feature a much dystopian taste, strong female characters are becoming all the rage now since the Hunger Games and the Divergent series. Now, 2016 welcomes another movie adaptation of the best selling novels, this time, it's the first of Rick Yancey's best-selling young adult dystopian series called The 5th Wave.

The 5th Wave

This 2016 film, The 5th Wave, is the first of the trilogy. It stars Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Ron Livingston, Maggie Siff, and Alex Roe, among many others. The film, like the books, highlights in the story of a young girl named Cassie. What was once an ordinary day becomes a series of cataclysms as an alien invasion unleashed four waves of deadly attacks. The power outages, the natural calamities, the plague, and the invasion from within. As she's on the run to save her little brother, Cassie encounters a young man named Evan Walker, who could be the key to her salvation. Throughout her journey, Cassie must face the inevitable choice while preparing for the worst.

This film is very frightening at first. It's like a blend of Independence Day, 2012, Hunger Games, and Divergent, at the same pace, but for a young adult dystopian flick depicting strong female characters, this film takes the cake and it's worth empowering for the viewers to discover that no matter how darkness falls, light will always prevail. Watching through the rest of the film is like slipping through the pages fast enough because viewers will never know what twists and turns The 5th Wave may face with, even with the dystopic characters featured.

The 5th Wave maybe intimidating and terrifying to watch but for stories depicting strong females, it's a powerful message that needs to be delivered.

Don't think you'll stop here on this 5th Wave because pretty soon, the story of The 5th Wave will continue in The Infinite Sea and The Last Star, which may get adapted very very soon but in the meantime, feel free to savor the thrills and spills in the first chapter of The 5th Wave trilogy.

My rating: 3.9 out of 5.

Broadchurch creator to take over Doctor Who in 2018

Ever since Steven Moffat took over BBC's longest-running sci-fi series Doctor Who during the Matt Smith years (2010-2013), he has propelled the show to greater success and introduced us some of the most memorable characters and villains during his rule. From the previous Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith to the current Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi, most of the Doctor Who episodes run by under Moffat's rule are truly memorable in each and every way.

Doctor Who
The tenth series, due in Spring 2017, will be the last series under Moffat's rule and after that, the show will be now under the rule of the new head writer and executive producer Chris Chibnall, responsible for the BAFTA-winning crime drama Broadchurch (which starred Tenth Doctor David Tennant) as well as other shows such as The Great Train Robbery, United, Law & Order UK, Life on Mars, and the Doctor Who spinoff action drama Torchwood.

Sure, it's going to be a very very long wait for us, Whovians, to wait before Doctor Who returns to the TV screens but fear not because there's going to be a 2016 Christmas special as well as Class, another bonafide Doctor Who spinoff since Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures coming this year.

Photo: BBC

Friday, January 22, 2016

Let's Do The News! (January 22, 2016)

- Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has appointed Department of Justice Chief Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa as the 174th associate justice of the Supreme Court. Caguioa not only replaces Leila del Lima as DOJ head last year but also Associate Justice Martin Villarama Jr., who retired from the high court.

- Vice presidentiable and Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano called on his fellow senators running for president and vice president on the upcoming May 2016 elections to inhibit themselves from the reopened investigation into the Mamasapano clash that killed forty four PNP Special Action Force members last year.

- Ousted Iglesia Ni Cristo minister Lowell Menorca, who was arrested for libel earlier this week, claimed that some members of the religious sect asked him to leave the country. Menorca claimed that the cased filed against him was just an attempt to scare him off.

- An American university student was detained by North Korea due to an alleged hostile act. The state-run news agency reported that the student, named as Otto Frederick Warmbier, entered the country as a tourist and committed a hostile act with the intention of undermining unity among North Koreans.

-South Korean leader Park Geun-hye proposed a five-nation talks to address the nuclear situation in North Korea. She stressed that the international community should send a clear message against North Korea's nuclear test staged early this month.

- Ford is offering the hardcore Shelby GT350R a new rear seat option for $999. Say what?

- Dreaming of having the Aston Martin DB10 as seen on 007: SPECTRE? Guess what? Now's the perfect chance to bid on this Bond car aside from numerous Bond memorabilia as seen on the film as most of the stuff from last year's Bond film are heading to the auctions courtesy of Christie's from the 16th to the 23rd of February. Proceeds will go to charity.

Aston Martin DB10

- The Citroen DS3 is now renamed as DS Automobiles DS3 as the range features new signature DS design and tons of new extras in store.

DS Automobiles DS3

- More news from the world of THE IDOLM@STER as Eriko Nakamura (who played Haruka Amami), Asami Shimoda (who played Ami and Mami Futami) and the producer Yozo Sakagami will be attending the 2016 Taipei Game Show. There will be lots of memorabilia straight from last year's 10th live concert in store in this event.


Jubilee of Mercy: Jubilee for those Engaged in Pilgrimage Work

The Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy kicks off today at the Vatican City with the opening of the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Jubilee of Mercy logo

The Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy, which is ongoing until the 13th of November, 2016, continues with the three-day Jubilee for those Engaged in Pilgrimage Work, which ran from the 19th to the 21st of January, 2016. 

In the last day of the three-day Jubilee for those Engaged in Pilgrimage Work, Pope Francis leads the Jubilee at the Paul VI Hall in Vatican City. The Pope told the participants that making pilgrimages to shrines is one of the most eloquent expressions of the faith of God's people, and is a form of evangelization that needs to be promoted and valued.

The next event for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy will be on the 10th of February, 2016, for the Missionaries of Mercy.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Let's Do The News! (January 21, 2016)

- The House of Representatives sets voting for the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law for next week, which seeks the creation of a new autonomous region in Mindanao. According to the Cagayan de Oro representative Rufus Rodriguez, the chamber has entered the period of amendments. They will set the voting on Wednesday as long as they have the quorum.

- The Commission of Elections has released the initial list of presidentiables, vice presidentiables, and senatorial candidates for the May 2016 elections.

- According to the Department of Defense official, several nations are interested to sell their military equipment to the Philippines. The official noted that the nations have to follow R.A. 9184 or Act Providing For The Modernization, Standardization And Regulation Of The Procurement Activities Of The Government And For Other Purposes. Nations like the US, Russia, Australia, and South Korea are heavily interested to bring their defense equipment to the Philippines.

- A British investigation points out that Russian leader Vladimir Putin likely authorized the murder of a former British agent in London. An agent, named Alexander Litvinenko, was poisoned to death ten years ago using a radioactive isotope. He had been publicly criticizing the Putin administration and was living in exile at the time of his death.

- Yesterday, there was a terrorist attack on a university in the northwestern town of Charsadda in Pakistan, killing twenty people after a group of four attackers stormed the campus. A man who claimed to be from the Taliban claimed responsibility. Now, students have gathered to mourn the victims of the attack. They held a prayer of silence while a verse from the Koran was recited to mourn the victims.

- Onto the Jakarta attacks, Indonesian authorities believed that the network of the Islamic State supporters has been formed in the country.

- In case you missed the recent Eat Bulaga kalyeserye; for their 27th weeksary, AlDub and the lolas visited the Lumban Central Elementary School for the grand opening of their first ever AlDub Library. This is one of the libraries that resulted from the biggest proceeds claimed from last year's Sa Tamang Panahon live event.

- One of PC's most respected sim racing games, Assetto Corsa, is heading to the PS4 and XBOX One on the 22nd of April, 2016.

- For the January update of the PS3-exclusive free-to-play Ace Combat Infinity, a hard difficulty on the Moscow Battle and an expert-level Excalibur Onslaught IV has been added. Coming soon, a brand new team deathmatch called Ring Battle will be added. To make it more interesting, four new planes have been added such as the MiG-35D Super Fulcrum, F-14B Tomcat, EA-6B Prowler, and the ultra-mysterious ADA-01B Adler.

- The special James Bond exhibition, called Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style, will open in the Grande Halle De La Villette in Paris on the 16th of April to the 4th of September, 2016. It will feature some of the finest Bond stuff from Dr. No to the latest SPECTRE.


Suzuki Ignis (FF21S)

Last year, at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, Suzuki onced showcased one of the most bizarre models ever made that will be available to the motoring public this year. It's called the Ignis and while this name sounds familiar to anyone who used to own one under the "Chevrolet Cruze" banner (not to be confused with the saloon we are familiar with), it's now a car with different personalities.

2016 Suzuki Ignis

Is it a sedan? Is it a hatchback? Is it a crossover? Is it a coupe? You can't really tell which is which because the Ignis looks like most of it above. It can look like a sedan, a hatchback, a coupe, and a crossover, but above all, the Ignis looks like it's the best of all worlds.

2016 Suzuki Ignis interior
2016 Suzuki Ignis interior

On the inside, the Ignis looks more like a European hatchback, except it isn't European because the Ignis is strictly Japanese and you know how Japanese people look over small cars. It's got seating for four people, some concessions for comforts, and a nifty touch screen featuring satellite navigation, Aha Radio, and the first for a Japanese car sold in the Japanese market, Apple CarPlay connectivity. Which means, the Ignis, despite its small sizing and its confusing body style, is surprisingly high tech inside out.

2016 Suzuki Ignis

Here's a little heads up about the new Suzuki Ignis because the powerplant is highly similar to the latest Suzuki Solio. Yep, it comes with Suzuki's Mild Hybrid technology that works in tandem with SUZUKI GREEN TECHNOLOGY. It's powered by a K12C Dual Jet engine producing 91PS of power and 118Nm of torque, while coupled with an Integrated Starter Generator, Lithium-ion Battery, an updated idling stop system, and CVT, resulting to 28.8kmpl of fuel consumption based on Japan's JC08 Mode standards.

As for dynamics, the Ignis stays true to its simplicity thanks to its front MacPherson struts, rear Torsion beams, and of course the Rack and Pinion Steering, meaning it doesn't feel as comfortable and as sporty as any other hatchbacks known today and it doesn't feel as rugged as any offroad-capable crossovers, which isn't a case for those if you may ask.

In terms of being a tech-savvy compact, the Ignis comes with numerous safety features in store such as dual camera brake support system, Lane Departure Warning, Stagger Alarm Function, Preceding Vehicle Start Alert, Emergency Stop Signal that warns drivers at the back, ESP, and 4-wheel ABS. This car sure knows some tough love to the drivers owning one.

Should you buy one? The Ignis starts at 1,382,400 Japanese Yen, which sounds very reasonable for a compact car with a rather confusing category to begin with but with all that tech loaded in a small car, the Ignis fits well not just as a city car but a car fit for your next weekend getaway.

Available colors: Flame Orange Pearl Metallic, Pure White Pearl, Premium Silver Metallic, Super Black Pearl, Neon Blue Metallic, Helios Gold Pearl Metallic, Fervent Red, Boost Blue Pearl Metallic, Flame Orange Pearl Metallic Black 2 Tone Roof, Neon Blue Metallic Black 2 Tone Roof, , Helios Gold Pearl Metallic Black 2 Tone Roof, , Pure White Pearl Black 2 Tone Roof, and Fervent Red Black 2 Tone Roof, 

Photo: Suzuki Motor Corporation

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Mitsuoka Ryugi Wagon

For those who never heard of a Mitsuoka Ryugi, let's take a quick reminder that Mitsuoka's fancy compact midsize car is basically an eleventh-generation Toyota Corolla in a Rolls-Royce getup. Now, the Ryugi range welcomes a station wagon version packed with more space and tech.

2016 Mitsuoka Ryugi Wagon

Yes, it's basically a Toyota Corolla Fielder underneath but you can still get some Rolls-Royce-ish elements as seen on its sedan counterpart, just to make it somewhat neoclassical despite being made from a commoner's car every Japanese salaryman would own for his day to day use.

2016 Mitsuoka Ryugi Wagon interior
2016 Mitsuoka Ryugi Wagon interior

Because this is basically a Corolla Fielder underneath, you can still expect the similar interior that you get from the Toyota Corolla and some added space fit for your grocery shopping list. The length, width and the height of the Ryugi Wagon's interior is highly similar to the Corolla Fielder's and it seats up to five people, making it an ideal boutique family car for those who think their once-stylish Corolla Fielder isn't fancy enough to be driven on a fancy restaurant or a country club for some golf.

Under the hood, the Ryugi Wagon can be fitted with either a 1.5L 1NZ-FE, a 1.5L 2NR-FKE, a 1.5L 1NZ-FXE hybrid powerplant, or a more powerful 1.8L 2ZR-FAE engine. Most models do come with the CVT gearbox but entry-level versions do get a not-so-bad five speed manual gearbox. On the chassis side, the Ryugi Wagon doesn't sound fancy because its got a McPherson struts on the front and Torsion beams on the right. It's got rack-and-pinion steering so handling one is like every common salarymen do most of the time.

And because this is basically a Corolla Fielder underneath, the Ryugi Wagon comes with Toyota Safety Sense C consisting of three features such as a Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, and the Automatic High Beam function. Because this safety system as seen on the Toyota Corolla range seems to be working so well, this feature can also be added on the Ryugi saloon as well.

2016 Mitsuoka Ryugi Wagon

The Ryugi Wagon starts from 2,499,120 to 3,398,760 Japanese Yen, which sounds more expensive than the Toyota Corolla Fielder it's based upon but needless to say that with this Corolla Fielder dressed as a Rolls-Royce, you can easily fool someone while driving through a country club or a five star hotel, claiming that you're driving a fancy luxury car, only the fact is that you're not driving one because this is a Mitsuoka and this is basically, well, you get the idea.

Available Colors: White Pearl Crystal Shine, Silver Metallic, Black Mica, Super Red V, Orange Metallic, Super White II, and Blue Metallic.

Photo: Mitsuoka Motor Co., Ltd.

Let's Do The News! (January 20, 2016)

- The Islamic State militants confirmed the death of their member known as "Jihadi John" in a drone strike in Syria last year. Jihadi John appeared in their videos that announced the executions of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, US journalists, and other Western hostages. He was known by his real name of Mohamed Emwazi, a British citizen.

- Following the historic lifting of sanctions against Iran, the International Atomic Energy Agency is set to continue monitoring the situation whether Iran is adhering to the nuclear deal it reached with world powers.  Last week, the Western nations lifted sanctions after confirming that Iran met the requirements to restrict their nuclear operations under the 2015 deal. The IAEA will continue to monitor the situation.

- Continuing on the Jakarta attacks, sources revealed that an Indonesian explosives expert tagged as an al-Qaeda arms dealer deported two years ago after serving a ten year sentence may have returned to the country to continue his arms trade. He was identified as Agus Dwikarna, an associate to the late Osama bin Laden as a Jemaah Islamiyah arms supplier, who vowed to return to the Philippines after his release and deportation in early 2014.

- The Philippine National Police has arrested over 250 violators who violated the gun ban policy implemented during the election period. According to the PNP Spokesperson Chief Superintendent  Wilben Mayor, most of the violators are 238 civilians, two police officers, three government/elected officials, three members of Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, two security guards, and a member from a law enforcement agency and the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit.

- Senator Grace Poe admitted that Philippine President Benigno Aquino III is responsible for the operation to neutralize the terrorist Marwan, which led to the death of forty-four Special Action Force members in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last year.

- Manny Pacquiao admittedly that his third fight against Tim Bradley happening on the 9th of April will be the last of his career and he felt sad walking away from the sport that rose him to superstardom.

- The organizers of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro have announced a number of cost-cutting measures amid the struggling Brazilian economy. Reports told that the number of volunteers will be slashed from 70,000 to 50,000. Also, they have cancelled the construction of viewing stands at the venue where the rowing events will be held and use tents for backstage facilities, but the anti-doping center and other facilities will be built as planned.

- Incoming Top Gear presenter Chris Evans got carsick during the shooting for their revamped show, due to air on the BBC this May.

- Bubble Gang's RJ Padilla and his wife Rosa Bianca Abdelsayed will welcome their second baby this March.

- TV presenter Roderick Paulate and three other Quezon City officials were sacked from their offices over their alleged hiring of "ghost employees" six years ago.


Forza Motorsport 6: Rise of the Lykan

The star attraction of Forza Motorsport 6's Ralph Lauren Polo Red Car Pack is the hypercar we are closely familiar with, probably thanks to its shot at fame from Furious 7. It's called the W Motors Lykan Hypersport and we are one of the lucky ones to sample Arab's first supercar in the world of Forza Motorsport. So, what's it all about?

lykan (2)

W Motors is an Arab-based supercar company founded in 2012 and this is their maiden voyage into the supercar realm; the Lykan Hypersport.

After spent two years in development, the Lykan Hypersport made its first appearance at the Top Marques Monaco Auto Show. While this is truly Arab's first supercar, the engine is a boxer-six engine sourced from Ruf, developing 780HP of power and with the seven-speed PDK equipped, it is capable of doing 0-100kph in 2.8 seconds and onwards to 395kph. Apart from its performance, the Lykan Hypersport comes with a carbon-fiber body work, active spoiler system, and six piston aluminum monobloc calipers ventilated, cross-drilled ceramic composite discs.

This car is limited to seven units made, making it one of the rarest cars in the world. Exclusivity aside, the LED headlight in the Lykan is encrusted with 220 diamonds or a combination of any other precious or semi-precious stones chosen by the customer. A Lykan Hypersport owner is entitled to a private concierge provided by Quintessentially Group as well as ownership of a very exclusive Franck Muller Lykan watch.

This car rose to stardom when it appeared in Furious 7, the seventh installment of The Fast and the Furious franchise, where Dom and Brian hijacked one and iconically leaped through a tall building, making it one of the most insane car stunt moments in cinematic history and so insane, experts wanted to test this film theory at their own risk.

lykan (3)

Anyway, while we are not on the mood on leaping this car from one building to another like we saw in the film, the chance to enjoy the rare delicacy is much as enjoyable as reminiscing the days of you and I playing a nice game of Ridge Racer. While this may look similar to any of the Ridge Racer cars, the Lykan Hypersport is one heck of a crazy beast not to be meddled with. I mean, sure, it was bewildering to push forward on the straights because of such raw power, but when handling this one, best to be sure you done this perfectly because it's going to feel like taking on your unheard Love Live song in expert level difficulty. It's a struggle but with such skill, you can tame this feral beast with surgical precision.


Speaking of which, I decided to give one a try by driving the Lykan Hypersport round the entire Yas Marina Circuit to see how good Arab's first supercar is...

Like I mention before, the Lykan is a brute on the straights but it's terrifyingly hard to handle on the corners after full braking and such extremes set myself a lap time of just 2:27.862. Perhaps I can do better than that but rest assumed that the Lykan Hypersport is a fun addition to the FM6 car roster and anyone who watched Furious 7 last year can score a chance to drive one in the world of Forza. You can count on it.

Sakkaku Crossroads

Sakkaku Crossroads

After the recent success of Printemps' WAO-WAO Powerful Day! and lily white's Omoide Ijou ni Naritakute, now it's the turn of Bibi, consisting of Eli Ayase, Nico Yazawa, and Maki Nishikino, to perform their latest single titled Sakkaku Crossroads, which is now integrated to the Love Live! School Idol Festival app game for a limited time. With all three singles set and ready, think you can clear them all from EASY to HARD? I bet most of you managed to finish most of the difficulties in FULL COMBO and S Rank.

Anyway, this latest single features two songs, 錯覚CROSSROADS and PSYCHIC FIRE, as heard on the School Idol Festival game and for a limited time only, there's a serial code that can unlock a Super Rare μ's idol for use in the School Idol Festival game.

3)錯覚CROSSROADS(Off Vocal)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Let's Do The News! (January 19, 2016)

- According to the lawyer from the camp of Senator Grace Poe, she admittedly used her US passport despite having a Philippine passport. During the oral arguments before the Supreme Court, Poe's lawyer said that the presidential candidate used her US passport four times until March 2010. The lawyer argued that Poe is a dual citizen at the time and had the right use both passports.

- Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile accused the President Benigno Aquino III for direct involvement to the death of forty-four Special Action Force members last year. Enrile claimed that the President  knew it from the first day about the operation to suppress the terrorists led by Marwan.

- The British Ambassador to the Philippines warned that people may resort to radicalism if the Bangsamoro Basic Law remains stalled in Congress. He also states that threats from the Islamic State militants may come in this nation following last week's Jakarta attacks. Right now, the death toll in Jakarta is now up to eight.

- Iran has vowed to push forward their missile programs despite the recent sanctions posed by the Us government. The Iranian Defense Minister condemns the recent sanctions posed by the US, saying that it won't have any effect as their missile program is completely domestic and based on Iran's own science and technologies.

- A SpaceX rocket has exploded after a failed vertical landing on a floating platform in the Pacific. Last weekend, the US space venture company launched its Falcon 9 rocket from California and successfully delivered a satellite into space. The company aims to reduce launch costs by developing technology to reuse the first stage of rockets rather than having them fall into the ocean.

- Eight people are hurt in a massive pileup of car crashes during a snowstorm in South Korea. Police say a car slipped and rammed into a guardrail on a highway in Jeongeup in the southwestern province of North Jeolla. Then, 14 vehicles hit from behind and later, another car stopped about 500 meters from the first pileup, and was hit by six others.

- Actor Vin Diesel teases the next installment of The Fast and The Furious film series. Titled Fast 8, the first of the final film's trilogy will hit theaters in April 2017 and it will be set in New York city.

- The collaboration between Love Live! School Idol Project and The Powerpuff Girls continues as the μ's are now donned in costumes from their Snow Halation song for a special exhibition beginning on the 22nd of January.

- Actress Valeen Montenegro was accused on being third party on the divorce between Ciara Sotto and her husband Jojo Oconer. Ciara has been married to Jojo five years ago, where they gave birth to an 11-month-old child.

- Actor Dingdong Dantes describes his first year of marriage with actress Marian Rivera. Late last month, the celebrity couple celebrated their first wedding anniversary. CHECK IT OUT.


Renault Megane IV

The Renault Megane is now on its fourth-generation and for this latest regeneration, it's now packed with a whole new look, new tech, new performance, and a whole new attitude that sets the class apart. So, what's it all about the new Megane?

2016 Renault Megane

Before you take a look at the all-new, fourth-generation Renault Megane, it might be best to compare with or without wearing your glasses because this is the main reason why this car is called "Megane". Approach yourself two times near the car, then move backward by four times, and then backward again by eight times. See the difference if you're going through different directions with or without glasses? Without your glasses, your new Megane looks a lot like a Mercedes-Benz A-Class from the distance, but with your glasses on, you can really point out its Talisman-inspired looks, which is now the new norm for Renault's "la vie, avec passion" slogan.

2016 Renault Megane interior
Because the design was heavily inspired from the Talisman saloon, you can expect the same interior as seen on the Espace, which is going to be also the new norm for future Renault interiors. For music lovers and speedo boys who love changing the radio of their cars, look away now because the new interior has a very irreplaceable touch screen armed with Renault's updated R-Link telematics system, smartphone connectivity, and much else that will put anyone to shame, except for those who got their hard-earned or hard-found songs in their smartphones to connect with. While you are ignoring this huge touch-screen, which is going to be a nightmare for a CD-less world of cars with irreplaceable radios (that's right speedo boy, you will never replace that big screen from this car), the interior of the new Megane is downright premium and downright comfortable to be accustomed with. Aside from having decent space for the passengers, there's still more room fit for your next shopping trips to the mall or to the farmer's market. What this is is a hatchback that suits anyone's lifestyle anytime, anywhere, year in, year out.

2016 Renault Megane

Under the hood, the new Megane comes with several choice of petrol and diesel engines ranging from the more powerful Energy TCe 205 available on the GT model and the more efficient Energy dCi 110 engine ECO2. Whichever engine you can choose, it can be mated with either a 6-speed or a 7-speed EDC gearbox, which sounds great to shift gears but it feels too good for its own form. Sorry, it's not a bad or a miss but rather "good" is what sums it up when it comes to its gearbox issues.

What about dynamics? Well, because this is an entirely new car with an entirely new underpinning, you might think that this is all fun and games, well in the GT-Line model that is, but there is little fun and games in the new chassis it sports as well as a more clever suspension setup fit for European roads. It feels good to handle as the present-day Clio but for sheer enjoyment, only time will tell.

Of course, the new Megane is all high-tech from start to finish and with that, you can expect a wide array of high-tech features such as Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Departure Warning, headlamps that switches to high beam automatically, Easy Park Assist, Blind Spot detection, autonomous braking assist, and hill start assist. Those tech stuff sounds great but it can be quite scary for first-timers.

2016 Renault Megane

Should you buy one? The new Renault Megane starts at 18,200 Euros and when you compare its pricing to its French rival, the Peugeot 308, it's surprisingly 600 Euros cheap so where does all the extra difference coming from? Perhaps you should do the budget thing and find out but better still, the new Megane's a smart buy for a start.

Photo: Renault

Monday, January 18, 2016

Let's Do The News! (January 18, 2016)

- Economic sanctions against Iran has finally been lifted after the country has successfully finished the necessary steps to restrict its nuclear program. This historic deal was welcomes by the parties involved in the deal and Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani was praised by such move. US President Barack Obama states that they've achieved this historic progress through diplomacy without causing much tension in the Middle East. Meanwhile, the US imposed new sanctions on Iranian companies and individuals linked to the missile programme from using the US banking sections.

- Turkish prosecutors have decided to hold 10 Syrian members of the Islamic State in custody in connection to the bombing at downtown Istanbul last week. The ten among the 16 men have been questioned over possible links to Nabil Fadli, an ISIL member from Syria. Fadli is a suspect behind the suicide attack near a heritage site, killing 10 German tourists.

- Indonesian prosecutors told that the guns used in last week's Jakarta attacks were sourced from the Philippines. Last week, a group of attackers belonged to the group calling itself a branch of ISIL bombed parts of Jakarta, killing four people and injuring 26 others. So far, 12 suspects have been arrested. Police are investigating whether the attackers have linked to the Abu Sayyaf group.

- The Commission of Elections has denied Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte's motion for inhibition of Commissioner Ma. Rowena Amelia Guanzon from disqualification cases against him due to lack of merit. The order came out after Duterte's camp filed a motion for inhibition before the COMELEC last week.

- The Senate and the House of Representatives only got nine days left to approve the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law before they go on the adjournment again on the 6th of February for the election campaign. The House is expected to start making amendments to the draft while the Senate is still in the period of floor debates.

- According to the Department of Transportation and Communications, one of the new MRT-3 train will be arriving at the end of the first quarter of this year. The DOTC recently conducted tests on the second MRT light rail vehicle delivered from China, which arrived last month. The DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said that if the evaluation is successful, they might expect another train to arrive this year. 48 new coaches are expected to arrive as part of the MRT-3 capacity expansion project.

- In an effort to ease the ban from the Olympics and other international competitions, the All-Russia Athletic Federation chose Dmitry Shlyakhtin as the new leader of the athletics federation at a meeting in Moscow on Saturday. Last November, the International Association of Athletics Federations suspended Russia after a report by the anti-doping body alleged there was a vast systematic doping operation.

- At the final day of the 2016 Dakar Rally, KTM biker Toby Price named as the winner, marking it the first Australian to win the Dakar in the two-wheel category. As for the four-wheel offroaders, Stephane Peterhansel for Peugeot snagged his 12th Dakar win. Marcos Patronelli win the quad category while Gerard de Rooy won the truck category.

- For the first time, the Subaru Levorg will be joining the ranks of the 2016 British Touring Car Championship as the choice for the BMR BTCC Racing Team to be driven by four drivers including Jason Plato and Colin Turkington.

Subaru Levorg joins the BTCC

- Azumi Asakura and Yumi Hara, who played Yukiho and Takane from THE IDOLM@STERas well as Rei Matsuzaki and Hiromi Igarashi, who played Kirari and Anzu from THE IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls, will be making an appearance at the C3 Hong Kong event on the 20th of February for a special talk and live stage.


Chevrolet Spark (M400, US Spec) and Second Generation Chevrolet Cruze

Two new Chevrolets are ringing the new year with a boom on the compact car markets in their classes. On the compact side, the Chevrolet Spark has been given a much mild-mannered regeneration while the Chevrolet Cruze, in the compact midsize sedan stakes, got fully regenerated for the new generation. So, what lies ahead of these two?

2016 Chevrolet Spark
2016 Chevrolet Spark interior

Of course, you might think you are already familiar with the new generation Chevrolet Spark because South Korea already has one last year and you are already familiar by how it looks because as told, the design looks not very premium-ish for the new model. That's just half of the story because apart from its rather unpleasant looks for a compact car, the inside is worth questionable because with technology continue to evolve, the rather cheap but comfortable interior doesn't come with a CD player and instead, it comes with a standard touchscreen with the Chevrolet MyLink that now comes with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility. Apart from that, like all good Chevys, 4G LTE connectivity is standard as well. It's hard to think why things like these would evolve into something more smartphone-ish or maybe they're trying to adapt through the easy life just like us?

Here in the USA, the new Spark is powered by a bigger and more powerful 1.4L petrol engine mated with either a more enjoyable 5-speed manual gearbox or a more casual CVT. This engine produces 98P of power and 94lb-ft of torque, and whichever gearbox you're on, you can expect an EPA estimated fuel economy of 41MPG highway, which is rather impressive for a compact car of such size, although it remains irrelevant in American roads dominated by Focuses, Darts, and many others.

While this is a compact car for the city roads, it's not surprisingly half bad to handle although the compound crank rear suspensions doesn't feel as sophisticated as any European compacts do. It's ashamed why this new Spark is not offered in European roads, where in turn gets a more similar Vauxhall Viva or Opel Karl.

2016 Chevrolet Cruze
2016 Chevrolet Cruze interior

Okay, if the new Spark doesn't suit your taste as your first car if you recently got your driver's license, perhaps why not consider the all-new Chevrolet Cruze? Yep, the all-new model and while it doesn't look as pleasant as the previous model, at least it's not as dull as what the Chinese had. It's surprisingly bigger than the new model, more rakishly stylish, and more high-tech features than any other compact midsize saloons of its class, which really sets the competition apart.

On the inside, it still has the grim reality of having a touch-screen with added connectivity standard, meaning there is no place for your CD collection, which is very very sad why we are now living in the age where cars have irreplaceable radios, no place for CD players, and so on like what cassette players happened. Better get those CD content be ripped through your smartphone if you got enough space to do so.

Anyway, while this is basically an Opel/Vauxhall Astra K underneath, the new Chevrolet Cruze features handling similar to European compacts, making it a well-sophisticated compact saloon fit for daily uses. Under the hood, the new Cruze comes with a more peppy 1.4L turbo engine, which produces 153 horsepower and promises a EPA estimated fuel economy of 40MPG highway.

Should you buy either of those two? The new Spark starts at $12,660 while the new Cruze starts at $16,620, so whichever Chevy you choose, these new Chevys have features that will set the competition apart. Although some purists will never like the design of both of these cars, which some say it's deemed ugly, the premium amenities are what made these two compensated from their looks.

It's a shame that Europeans will miss out on those and they have to make do with their highly similar Opels or Vauxhalls, in the case of the Karl, Viva, and the Astra K.

Photo: General Motors

Stars of 2016 NAIAS

2017 Lexus LC

The 2016 North American International Auto Show runs on now until the 24th of January, 2016, at the Cobo Center, Detroit, Michigan, and in this event, the year 2016 is started with the best and finest of the motoring industry. From world premieres, full model changes, debutants, concepts, and techs, there's so much in store for this year's NAIAS. While you were there, let's jot down the stars of this year's NAIAS.

Production Cars

2017 Audi A4 Allroad Quattro
2017 BMW M2 Coupe
2017 Buick Envision
2017 Chevrolet Bolt
2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback
2017 Chrysler Pacifica
2017 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor SuperCrew
2017 Ford Fusion
2017 GMC Acadia
2017 Infiniti Q60
2017 Lexus LC 500
2017 Lincoln Continental
2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class
2017 Mercedes-AMG SLC43 AMG
2017 Porsche 911 Turbo range
2017 Volvo S90


Acura Precision Concept
Audi H-Tron Quattro COncept
Buick Avista Concept
Kia Telluride Concept
VW Tiguan GTE Active Concept

...and more.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

20 Years of Pokemon: The 20 most beautiful Pokemon

Continuing on the celebration for twenty years of Pokemon, it's time to focus on the prettiest Pokemons in history. Through the years, apart from featuring cute Pokemon like Pikachu, Fennekin, Oshawott, Minccino, and many others, history has been peppered also with some of the prettiest Pokemons a sophisticated trainer would want more than any fashion accessory. What makes a Pokemon pretty? Nobody knows, not even science can't tell, but either way, time to jot down the twenty most beautiful Pokemons from Kanto to Kalos.

1) Pikachu - Hmmm? I already mentioned Pikachu as one of the cutest Pokemons in history but why would I decided to put it on the list of the most prettiest Pokemons in history? Although maybe cute, Pikachu can be somewhat very beautiful not by the way it looks but by the way it moves. The finest examples of Pikachu's beauty are either Pikachu Pop Star and Pikachu Belle, one of the Cosplay Pikachu variants as pointed from the ORAS games.

2) Ninetails - Although its Pokedex description sounds scary, apart from the part where grabbing one of its tails could result to a thousand-year curse, Ninetails, which is the evolved form of Vulpix after contact with a Fire Stone, is considered to be one of the prettiest and a real keeper for trainers who have great taste of style.

3) Goldeen - Misty used to have one of these during the Indigo League years, the beginning, of course, but anyway, Goldeen's quite a beautiful water-type Pokemon that shows its true colors even when swimming. Don't let its looks fool you because its horns are darn tough.

4) Articuno - One of the three legendary birds in the Kanto region and obviously one of the prettiest if you were lucky enough to see one flying through the winter skies.

5) Meganium - Meganium is the final evolved form of Chikorita and according to its Pokedex description, its breath has the power to revive dead plants and grass, and making it healthy again. Anyway, its wondrous aroma makes it well-suitable to be on the list because if you can imagine female trainers starting their Johto Journeys in a Chikorita and then worked their way to become Meganium, you know that they got class.

6) Bellossom - Sure, when a Gloom made contact with a Leaf Stone, it becomes a Vileplume, but when Gloom made contact with the Sun Stone, it becomes a Bellossom, turning from an ugly Grass-and-Poison type into a fragrant, yet gorgeous, Grass-type Pokemon. Apart from its wondrous aroma, Bellossom's graceful at dancing and when you see a flock of Bellossoms dancing together, it's definitely a pretty spectacle to watch.

7) Ho-oh - One of the legendary Pokemons in the Johto region, only a trainer worthy of a heart of pure gold will be blessed by its appearance by shining its rainbow-colored wings. Although I don't find Ho-oh to be multicolored because it's fiery red, its beauty is considered the stuff of legends.

8) Gardevoir - Gardevoir's one of my favorite Psychic-type Pokemon and when witnessing its Mega Evolution, its prettiness is off the scale. Prettiness aside, its Pixilate ability is a real knock-out especially when Gardevoir's armed with Hyper Voice or Hyper Beam. No wonder the Kalos league champion has one.

9) Altaria - Despite being a Dragon-type Pokemon, Altaria's appearance is rather peaceful and beautiful to keep. Because its so beautiful, its Pokedex description says that its humming sounds beautiful. I also forgot that its Mega Evolution looks fluffy and gorgeous even though it has changed from a Dragon-and-Flying-type to a Dragon-and-Fairy-type, a beautiful combination.

10) Milotic - Milotic is no doubt the most beautiful Pokemon in existence but having a hard-to-find Feebas evolve into one is no easy task because it takes a lot of blue PokeBlocks to get the job done. Despite this hard task, having Milotic is a definite proof that you have a strong liking for a Pokemon's beauty.

11) Roserade - When the Diamond and Pearl games came out in 2006, Roselia, first appeared during the Advanced Generation years, gained two new stages; a pre-evolved form called Budew and a final evolved form called Roserade. If made contact with a Shiny Stone, Roselia evolves into Roserade, the bouquet Pokemon. According to the Pokedex, despite its graceful appearance, it can languish foes with its poisonous thorns. Do I have any idea what kind of trainer would be interested in a Roserade? Well, more specifically a female trainer dressed like a prince in an all-female troupe.

12) Cresselia - Cresselia's one of the Sinnoh legends and according to the Pokedex, it is said to represent the crescent moon. This legendary Pokemon is definitely quite a beauty to behold if you're in a middle of a night watch.

13) Leavanny - The Pokedex states that Leavanny, the final evolved form of Sewaddle, weaves clothing from leaves, using the cutters on its arms and sticky silk. Yep, we seen that stuff during the Black and White anime but one thing you will find about Leavanny's beauty is its smile. Its smile is so beautiful and cute, I felt like I'm one of the few who are completely in love with it.

14) Lilligant - Lilligant's one of the prettiest Pokemons in the Unova region, probably because of its fragrant flower that most trainers deemed to be difficult to take good care of it, according to the Pokedex.

15) Cinccino - Yeah, I did listed Minccino as one of the cutest Pokemons in history but what about its evolved form when it made contact with a Shiny Stone? Cinccino's definitely a beauty to behold in the eyes of a trainer and no matter how things get dirty, this Cinccino never gives up because its special oil coated on its fur makes it clean itself, except when its coating gets blown by Snivy's Leaf Storm attack.

16) Meloetta - Meloetta's a mythical Pokemon with has a melody far beyond compare with any other Pokemon that knows how to sing. When armed with the Relic Song, Meloetta can transform from its Aria Forme to Pirouette Forme, turning from a graceful singer to a graceful dancer back and forth.

17) Vivillon - Vivillon are famous for having a wide range of patterns depending on region and because of its diverse patterns, many trainers wanted to collect most of it, which sounds more of challenge.

18) Florges - In one episode of the Pokemon XY anime series, we've seen a Florges trying to attack Goodra but then later eventually joined to save its homeland from an impending doom. Although pretty to look at, Florges really means business, even for a Fairy-type Pokemon.

19) Xerneas - Xerneas is the stuff of the Kalos legends and known to be the bringer of life. Legends told that it slept for a thousand years in the form of a tree before its revival. When its horns shine like a rainbow, it is said to bring life. Either way, this legendary Pokemon is quite a beauty to behold.

20) Diancie - When witnessing its Mega Evolution, Diancie's beauty is beyond compare of any of the most beautiful Pokemon existed. With such beauty, it was known as the Royal Pink Princess. For us, Diancie or Mega Diancie, it's a definite proof that we still believe that Diamonds are Forever....

Next time, let's list down the 20 most scariest Pokemons as part of the Pokemon 20 year celebration.

Photo: Pokemon

Tsai Ing-wen named as Taiwan's new leader

For the first time in Taiwanese presidential history, a female president is taking reign in the country of Taiwan as Tsai Ing-wen, leader of the Democratic Progressive Party, emerged as the winner of the Taiwanese elections, defeating Nationalist Party candidate Eric Chu.

By winning the election, Tsai became the first female leader of Taiwan and the Democratic Progressive Party will return to power after an eight-year opposition.

As of 2030 hours Taiwan time, Tsai had over 6.58 million votes garneted , while Chu had 3.61 million.

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