Martes, Agosto 23, 2011

Philippine Arena: 'world's largest domed arena' to rise in the Philippines

Korean builder Hanwha Engineering and Construction Corp. has signed a contract with Filipino Christian group Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) to establish the world’s largest domed arena in the Philippines, Korea Herald reported Thursday.
A miniature of the Philippine Arena 
To be called the Philippine Arena, the 50,000-seater indoor performance hall will soon rise at a 74,000-square-meter area near the Philippine Capital, Manila. The ground breaking ceremony was already held this week and was attended by the Hanwha and Iglesia Ni Cristo officials.
Ciudad de Victoria in Bulacan, the location of the Philippine Arena
The soon-to-be largest domed arena in world is expected to be finished in 30 months or by 2014 and will reportedly cost  Iglesia Ni Cristo  a whooping $175 million!

Iglesia Ni Cristo: Philippine Arena Ground Breaking Ceremony

Another Philippine Arena miniature showing its inside facilities

Philippine Arena is said to be 
Iglesia Ni Cristo 's "centennial project" since the Christian organization is going to celebrate its 100th founding anniversary in 2014.

Wow! Will the next Olympic games be held in the Philippines after its completion? Hmmmmm... :D 

Photos courtesy of PEX and to their respective owners.

Harbingers of prophecy 2011 - earth shattering events on the horizon (FREAKY!)

Have watched thousands of doom videos over the years and this is one of the best I have ever seen!


Libyan rebels storm seat of Gadhafi's power

Rebel fighters gesture as one of them stands on a monument inside Moammar Gadhafi's main compound in Bab Al-Aziziya in Tripoli, Libya, Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011. Libyan rebels stormed Moammar Gadhafi's main military compound in Tripoli Tuesday after fierce fighting with forces loyal to his regime that rocked the capital as the longtime leader refused to surrender despite the stunning advances by opposition forces. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Hundreds of Libyan rebels stormed Moammar Gadhafi's compound Tuesday, charging wildly through the symbolic heart of the crumbling regime as they killed loyalist troops, looted armories and knocked the head off a statue of the besieged dictator. But they found no sign of the man himself.
The storming of Bab al-Aziziya, long the nexus of Gadhafi's power, marked the effective collapse of his 42-year-old regime. But with Gadhafi and his powerful sons still unaccounted for — and gunbattles flaring across the nervous city — the fighters cannot declare victory.
Hours after the battle erupted, a pro-Gadhafi TV channel quoted the Libyan leader as saying he retreated from his Tripoli compound in a "tactical move" after 64 NATO airstrikes turned it to rubble. Al-Rai TV said Wednesday it would air the comments in full and reported an excerpt in which Gadhafi vowed his forces would resist "the aggression with all strength" until either victory or death.
His government's chief spokesman also managed to get word out in a phone interview with the same station, promising "we will be back to take Tripoli back."
The rebel force entered the compound after fighting for five hours with Gadhafi loyalists outside, using mortars, heavy machine guns and anti-aircraft guns. They killed some of those who defended the compound and hauled off thousands of rifles, crates of weapons and trucks with guns mounted on the back in a frenzy of looting.
"We're looking for Gadhafi now. We have to find him now," said Sohaib Nefati, a rebel sitting against a wall with a Kalashnikov rifle.
Abdel-Aziz Shafiya, a 19-year-old rebel dressed in camouflage with a rocket-propelled grenade slung over one shoulder and a Kalashnikov over the other, said the rebels believed Gadhafi was inside the compound but hiding underground.
"Wasn't he the one who called us rats? Now he is the rat underground," he said.
Shafiya said he felt "an explosion of joy" to be standing inside Gadhafi's stronghold in the capital after a lightning-quick rebel advance. He had left the rebel-held western city of Misrata just two days earlier.
"I lost friends and relatives and now I can walk into Gadhafi's house," Shafiya said, choking up with emotion. "Many of my friends have died and now all of that meant something."
Tripoli's new rebel military chief, Abdel-Hakim Belhaj, said at nightfall that a small area of the vast compound was still under the control of regime fighters and heavy shooting was heard across Tripoli toward midnight.
The atmosphere in the compound was a mix of joyful celebration and tension. The air was thick with smoke from the battles, and the boom of mortars and the crackle of gunfire was constant. Rebels chanted "Allahu akbar" or "God is great" and on loudspeakers they cried: "Al-Hamdullilah," or "Thank God."
As the fighters stormed in, they captured a guard at the gates and threw him to the ground, slamming rifle butts into his back. A hostile crowd gathered around, punching and kicking him until one rebel stepped in, stood over him and kept the crowd at bay. Inside the walls, a few bodies of Gadhafi fighters — one with a gaping head wound from a gunshot — were sprawled on the ground.
Several young men wrenched the head from a statue of Gadhafi and kicked it around. One lifted it above his head while his jubilant comrades danced and yelled around him. Fighters with long beards hugged each other and flashed the "V'' for victory sign. Others carried injured rebels to ambulances.
A fighter climbed atop the iconic statue of a huge golden fist clenching a model of an American warplane and shot his machine gun in the air in celebration. The statue stands outside a building that was once Gadhafi's home, preserved with the pockmarks of an American bombing in 1986 as a symbol of his defiance.
Gadhafi delivered many fiery speeches from the balcony of that house, railing against the West. It was there that he appeared on television six months ago, at the beginning of the uprising, mocking his opponents and saying his supporters would "purify Libya inch by inch, house by house, alley by alley."
Bab al-Aziziya has since been pummeled many times over by NATO bombings in the air campaign against the regime that began in March.
In Wednesday's TV interviews, Gadhafi and government spokesman Ibrahim called the withdrawal from the compound strategic.
"Bab al-Azaziya is nothing but slabs of concrete after 64 NATO airstrikes," Ibrahim said in a two-hour phone interview with Al-Rai TV. "Our departure from there is a strategic move and we will be back to take Tripoli back."
He claimed Gadhafi's forces still controlled 80 percent of the capital, which he said was a "death trap" and "ticking time bomb" for the rebels.
Thousands of rebels converged on the compound after it was breached, snatching ammunition and arms from depots inside. They found brand-new rifles still in their paper wrappings.
Scuffles broke out among rebels pushing and shoving to get inside two white buildings where the rifles, machine guns and handguns are stored. They came out drenched in sweat from the struggles.
One fighter gleefully blasted rocket-propelled grenades over the compound's eastern wall, with little idea about what was happening on the other side.
Ali Sameer, a Tripoli resident, stood with three brand-new rifles resting on his legs.
"They are for my friends. I don't even know how to fight," he said.
The rebels carted out boxes of the weapons and ammunition, and some drove off with trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns on the back.
One drove out with a golf cart. Another walked out with a fan. Others were busy ripping down posters of Gadhafi.
Near Gadhafi's old home with the statue outside, the body of a dead regime loyalist lay inside a round building with glass windows shot out. The body was partly covered by a blanket, the head sticking out with a gaping gunshot wound.
A large tent nearby was on fire.
Gadhafi has a famous penchant for Bedouin-style tents, meant to symbolize his roots as a simple desert dweller. He received guests in the tents inside Bab al-Aziziya.
The storming of the compound was a new high for the rebels in what has been an emotional roller coaster since they moved into Tripoli on Sunday night. It began with euphoria and claims that they had taken over most of the city with little resistance. The first night they partied in Green Square, a major symbol of the regime where Gadhafi supporters had held almost nightly rallies throughout the uprising. And it seemed Gadhafi rule was teetering on the brink of collapse.
In the early morning hours of Tuesday, there was a shocking setback. The rebels had claimed that they arrested Gadhafi's son and heir apparent, Seif al-Islam. It was confirmed by the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands, which has charged him and his father with crimes against humanity.
But inexplicably, Seif al-Islam showed up at the hotel where foreign journalists are staying under the close watch of regime minders in early morning hours of Tuesday. He giddily took reporters on an eerie drive in the middle of the night to see hundreds of pro-regime gunmen around Bab al-Aziziya and at least a hundred more lined up outside, where guns were being handed out to volunteers.
The rebels waited hours to explain, saying word of his capture had come from secondhand reports from some rebels that were never confirmed and had been leaked to journalists. But in an indication that the announcement of his arrest might have been a ruse calculated to demoralize the regime, Mahmoud Jibril, head of the rebels' acting Cabinet, said the reports had some political and military benefits.
"About 30 officers and soldiers surrendered when they heard the news, which helped us take over Bab al-Aziziya swiftly," he said. "And 11 countries recognized the (rebels') National Transitional Council after receiving news of his arrest."
By Tuesday morning, it looked like the capital might descend into bloody urban warfare. There was sporadic gunfire in many parts. The rebels were in control of parts of the city, though it was not clear how extensive their control really was. Then the fighting took focus around Gadhafi's compound.
However, rebels were trying to establish civilian control in the chaotic city, even while fire fights continued.
In a deserted five-star hotel on the city's beachfront, a group of rebel leaders who had operated underground for the past six months announced that they had formed a 24-member city council and would now be in charge.
Deputy council chief Usama el-Abed el-Abed called on city workers to return their jobs so life could begin to return to normal. However, the founding members had not invited guests, saying the city was still too dangerous for large gatherings.
Gadhafi, meanwhile, has not been heard from since Sunday, when rebels entered Tripoli and he delivered a series of angry and defiant audio messages that were apparently phoned in to state television.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the Russian head of the World Chess Federation who has known Gadhafi for years, said he spoke Tuesday by telephone with Gadhafi, who told him he was "alive and well and still in Tripoli." The report could not be independently confirmed.
In other parts of the capital, the rebels said they were also in control of state television. They raised their tricolor flag on the top of the building. Rebels claimed they also control the airport.
In Tripoli's Green Square, hundreds of rebels celebrated the storming of Bab al-Aziziya, dancing and clapping and waving the red, green and black rebel flag and firing celebratory gunfire in the air.
Libya's former deputy ambassador to the U.N. said he expected the entire country would be in rebel hands within 72 hours. Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi, who with other diplomats has continued to work at the Libyan mission since disavowing Gadhafi in February, said Tuesday he expects Libya will be "totally liberated."
In the de facto rebel capital of Benghazi, hundreds of miles east of Tripoli, the news of the Bab al-Aziziya storming was greeted with celebratory gunfire and firecrackers. Men drove around waving rebel flags.
Wael Abu Khris, a shipping agent turned rebel fighter from Tripoli, was walking around Gadhafi's compound after the battle, carrying his Kalashnikov.
"I feel great satisfaction. We are at last free of this dictator," he said. "Libya is free at last. No more Gadhafi!"

Martes, Agosto 16, 2011

Silicon Valley billionaire funding creation of artificial libertarian islands

Pay Pal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to an initiative to create 
Seasteading Institute city design (Anthony Ling)
Pay Pal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to an floating libertarian countries in international waters, according to a profile of the billionaire in Details magazine.
Thiel has been a big backer of the Seasteading Institute, which seeks to build sovereign nations on oil rig-like platforms to occupy waters beyond the reach of law-of-the-sea treaties. The idea is for these countries to start from scratch--free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes of any existing place. Details says the experiment would be "a kind of floating petri dish for implementing policies that libertarians, stymied by indifference at the voting booths, have been unable to advance: no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons."
"There are quite a lot of people who think it's not possible," Thiel said at a Seasteading Institute Conference in 2009, according to Details. (His first donation was in 2008, for $500,000.) "That's a good thing. We don't need to really worry about those people very much, because since they don't think it's possible they won't take us very seriously. And they will not actually try to stop us until it's too late."
The Seasteading Institute's Patri Friedman says the group plans to launch an office park off the San Francisco coast next year, with the first full-time settlements following seven years later.
Thiel made news earlier this year for putting a portion of his $1.5 billion fortune into an initiative to encourage entrepreneurs to skip college.
Another Silicon Valley titan, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, announced in June that he would be funding the "Clock of the Long Now." The clock is designed to keep ticking for 10,000 years, and will be built in a mountain in west Texas.


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The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) is one of the most important biodiversity conservation areas of the Philippines. It features a spectacular limestone or karst landscape that contains an 8.2 km long underground river. A distinguishing feature of the river is that it flows directly into the sea, and the lower half portion of the river is brackish and subject to tidal influence. The area also represents significant habitat for biodiversity conservation. It contains a full mountain to the sea ecosystem and protects forests, which are among the most significant in Asia.
The PPPSRNP is designated a core area for the Palawan Biosphere Reserve under the Man and Biosphere Program. In recognition of its globally significant natural properties, it was inscribed to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s of (UNESCO) List of Natural World Heritage Sites. Inscription to the list confirms the exceptional and universal value of the Site that deserves to be protected for the benefit of all humanity.
The PPSRNP is managed by the City Government of Puerto Princesa based on a program centered on environmental conservation and sustainable development. It has the distinction of being the first national park devolved and successfully managed by a Local Government Unit. It has been cited as an example of best practices for biodiversity conservation and sustainable tourism in the Philippines.
The Puerto Princesa Underground River is reputed to be the longest navigable underground river in the World. It is one of the few such rivers which the public can easily experience and appreciate. It is the official entry of the Philippines and is 1 of the 28 finalists to the Search for the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
It is a source of pride and a key element in the identity of the people of Puerto Princesa in particular, and of the Philippines as a whole.

UR Declared As Official Finalist to the Search for the New 7 Wonders of Nature

After topping the first round of voting, 261 second round to represent the Philippines, July 28 was declared 1 of 28 finalist.
In a press statement, Benard Weber, President and Founder of the New 7 Wonders said “Congratulations for the supporters of Puerto Princesa around the world for their passionate and inspiring work in bringing them up from over 441 participants into this elite finalist group of 28 entries. This is an ordinary achievement and in the eyes of the planet will be upon Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National park and the Philippines in the next 2 years. We look forward to an exciting and record-breaking final race, with the whole world coming together to choose the Official new 7 wonders of nature, 7 locations that will be part of global memory forever.”.
For his part, City Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn extended his gratitude to all those who supported and voted for the PPUR. He said he was positive that with the support and help of the people of Puerto Princesa and around the Philippines and around the world who appreciate that the PPSRNP will be among the new 7 wonders of nature in 2011.

The World's Most Beautiful Rivers

Known as “the river that ran away from paradise,” the Caño Cristales in northern Colombia is often considered the most beautiful river in the world. Stunning, multi-hued algal streaks paint the riverbed in a kaleidoscopic palette of reds, yellows, blues, greens and blacks, while glassy waterfalls spill into neon-colored tide pools. The otherworldly rainbow effect emerges only during the height of summer when the heat helps resident algae colonies to grow and multiply, filling craters and eddies with intense bursts of color.

As beautiful as the Caño Cristales is, it’s only one in an array of beautiful rivers all around the world. We researched some of the world’s best, and along with travel sources such as Frommer’s and Fodor’s, came up with a list of ten rivers around that beg to be visited at least once in a lifetime.

Río Futaleufú, Chile and Argentina

The tiny, picturesque town of Futaleufú in Chile provides access to the river that bears its name, promising a waterway experience that rivals any in the world for its beauty and drama. Fed by a glacial runoff, the cold, clear blue waters of the river are a popular locale for heart-quickening tours by whitewater raft or kayak.

“It winds through lush forests and moody valleys from Argentina to Chile, providing all the beauty of the Andes and the Chilean and Argentine lakes districts of northern Patagonia,” says Kealy.

Cano Cristales River, NorthernColombia

A psychedelic swirl of improbability, the Caño Cristales is sometimes called “the world’s most beautiful river,” and with good reason: It is the host to a dizzying array of colors that result from pockets of algae that bloom during the height of summer. Aquamarines push up against eddies of red and fingers of yellow cut through pockets of bright green in this river in Northern Colombia. At less than 100 kilometers long, and rarely more than 20 meters wide, this compact slice of river offers a kaleidoscope of otherworldly experiences – but it is not easy to get to: you’ll need to fly from Villavicencio to Macarena, then take a boat and cut through unmarked trails in order to find this jungle jewel of a river.

Zambezi River, Zambia andMozambique

The Zambezi flows 2,700 kilometers through six African countries before it spills into the Indian Ocean, allowing for a large array of ways to explore the riverside life and beauty of Africa. Although it is the fourth-largest river in Africa, it’s most popular spot by far is Victoria Falls, the world’s largest waterfalls, and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

Nearly a million people visit the falls every year to witness the awe-inspiring volume of water that cascades over 354 feet to the bottom at its deepest point, or to swim dizzyingly close to the edge at a naturally-safe swimming spot called “Devil’s Pool,” a popular location to take photoshopped-looking pictures of daredevil wading.

Yangtze River, China

The Yangtze is the longest river in Asia, providing a striking array of opportunities to explore Chinese life and the culture that sprouts along its banks. This is another river on which it pays to travel by boat cruise. Many of the cruises tend to be shorter than a week, but are guaranteed to provide access to some of the best rural Chinese experiences you can find..

“You see the Three Gorges Dam construction site, the gorgeous scenery and mountains, and the impressive pagodas along the river banks,” says Heidi Sarna, a Frommer’s contributor. “With all the changes going on, it will be a completely different place in ten years, so see it now.”

Danube River, Central Europe

The Danube cuts and abuts ten nations in Central Europe, from the Black Forest in Germany down to the Black Sea in Romania. Along the way, it winds through medieval towns, towering castles, and historic sites that rival some of the world’s best river experiences. Take a riverboat cruise lasting anywhere from a few hours to two weeks to explore some of the best the river has to offer and take advantage of the daily excursions that allow you to dig deeper into the history and culture of one of Europe’s most important rivers.

President Obama just joined Foursquare, but he isn’t mayor of the White House

The White House makes a move for another social media presence

President Obama just joined Foursquare, but you probably won't see him checking in to dinersaround Washington D.C. In fact, he won't be checking in anywhere. He isn't even the mayor of the White House — that honor goes to Foursquare user Aya M. with 41 check-ins. The nature of the White House's new special account on the geocentric social network will emphasize offering "tips" from his travels rather than real-time reports of his whereabouts — a fact that's sure to keep the Secret Service happy.
The White House's first Foursquare tip comes from Hannah's Bend Park in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, the first stop on President Obama's so-called "rural road trip." At the park, Obama fielded questions about agriculture, job creation, and healthcare from an audience of roughly 500 people.
Foursquare is a free, location-based social network that encourages you to use your smartphone to "check in" to the places you encounter in your day-to-day jaunts. Just about every location imaginable is on Foursquare these days, from your local pizza parlor and the public library to historical landmarks. The service is naturally very focused on users engaging through its mobile app, which is available for a broad range of phones.
By checking in on Foursquare, you can broadcast your location to friends on the network, leave reviews and tips for other users, and accrue points that lead to "mayorships" — the ultimate calling card of the regular customer. Many businesses now partner with Foursquare to couple promotional deals with a check-in, and the service has reportedly exploded with 3,400% user growth in 2010alone.
Obama's introduction to Foursquare comes just after the service announced Tip Lists. The newest addition to the feature-packed service lets users curate lists collecting the check-in wisdom they've gleaned around town.
While Obama is unlikely to contribute to Foursquare's Hipster Coffee Shop list, you will be able to follow him on the campaign trail. According to the White House blog, Foursquare is just one more way to plug in to the re-election campaign, and you can keep abreast of "the places President Obama has visited, what he did there, plus historical information and more."
President Obama — and his sizable staff of social media ghostwriters —  have established a robust online presence over the course of his presidency. From YouTube and Twitter townhall meetings to his new Foursquare account, Obama's campaign for reelection has a big virtual footprint. Still, it must feel strange to be the nation's top elected official without so much as a single Foursquare mayorship.

Video: LeBron James gets ‘dunked on’ in vague sense of the term

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Like many NBA superstars, LeBron James(notes) is currently traveling the world to expand his global brand and make friends with people who maybe didn't have "The Decision" broadcast in their countries. One of those countries is Taiwan, where James participated in a nation all-star charity game alongside some local legends on Friday. Nike put out a press release on the event here (via EOB).
You would expect LeBron to dominate a game like this one. And while he did, he also had a moment of embarrassment. Above, watch James get his pocket picked for a dunk at the other end. And then laugh, if you want.
Now, you may have seen this video elsewhere Monday with the notice that LeBron was dunked on. This is not entirely accurate. While James is in the area for the dunk, the play pretty clearly happens ahead of him: The Taiwanese player simply beat him to the basket and finished the dunk, narrowly avoiding a LeBron block. It's a very athletic and impressive play, but it would be wrong to say that LeBron got facialed at the rim.

Hacker stole £35k from neighbours by using social media sites

A cyber criminal stole £35,000 from his neighbours' bank accounts by using information displayed on their Facebook and Friends Reunited profile pages.

Iain Wood, 33, of Newcastle, would compile information about his targets from the social networking sites to successfully get past security questions and steal money to fund his  gambling addiction.

Newcastle Crown Court was told last week how the carpet fitter pretended to be the neighbours in his tower block to get his hands on their savings and intercept bank cards.

After pleading guilty to seven counts of false representation, Yahoo! News was told how Wood was jailed for 15 months for the offences which lasted between June 2008 and June last year.

The fraudster would call up customer care centres and say he couldn’t remember the password. Neil Pallister, prosecuting said: “He would be asked security questions about dates of birth and mothers’ maiden names and he was able to give correct details in some cases. 

“He would make friends with people on Facebook and have got their usernames and then he would try it on the bank websites, on the basis people use the same passwords.”

Mr Wood was able to fool the system for two years until he became complacent and started transferring money out of one neighbour’s account and directly into his own.

His elaborate scam was foiled when one victim was contacted over the withdrawal of £1,500 and the police were called.

Northumbria Police thought it was a one-off but the court was told that Wood blurted out: “Have you been on to me for a while?”

Judge Guy Whitburn, at Newcastle Crown Court, said: “This is the first time I’ve come across a sophisticated fraud such as this, it was very well planned, complex and clever.”

“He was using other people’s identities and there was a considerable breach of trust in assuming his neighbours’ identities.

“It is an extremely bad deception on people in the same block of flats as he. People’s blood runs cold when they see money taken from their accounts.”