OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson MOST READ He has also been unable to find a steady home ever since, as Charlotte will be his fourth team in six seasons—with brief stops with the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and Atlanta Hawks. Khristian Ibarrola/JBRELATED STORY:NBA: Dwight Howard looks to add 3-pointer to repertoire next seasonADVERTISEMENT DAY6 is for everybody In ‘Jojo Rabbit,’ Comedy and Drama Collide Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Dwight Howard (left). NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFPDwight Howard may no longer be the athletic specimen he once was, but NBA legend and Charlotte Hornets’ owner Michael Jordan believes he could still be effective in today’s fast-paced league.The Hornets acquired the services of the eight-time NBA All-Star this off-season, in hopes of rekindling his earlier dominance, where he averaged around 20 points and 14 rebounds per contest.ADVERTISEMENT Mos Burger to open in Manila; teases with a pop-up Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson Margot Robbie talks about filming ‘Bombshell’s’ disturbing sexual harassment scene View comments Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours LATEST STORIES Although injuries have been a major concern for the 31-year-old center for the past seasons, Jordan believes that Howard’s struggles could also be attributed to his attitude and demeanor on the court.“Why are you so pissed off?” Jordan asked his new prized center in a phone call this off season, according to Sports Illustrated.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’SPORTSFederer blasts lack of communication on Australian Open smog“When you’re pissed, you’re out of control, and you’re not focusing on your shots or your free throws or the right type of defense… Why play pissed when you can play determined?” the six-time NBA champion added.Since leaving the Magic in the 2012-2013 NBA season, Howard has regressed statistically and has struggled to develop new skills that will fit in the league’s new uptempo style. La Salle blows lead, holds off Adamson in Mbala’s return Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles05:19Exclusive interview: Michael Bay ups the action ante in ‘6 Underground’—with 2,000 stunts02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award How to help the Taal evacuees
Hong Kong: Hong Kong democracy activists kicked off a weekend of fresh rallies on Saturday in a major test for the movement following criticism over an airport protest earlier this week — and as concerns mount over Beijing’s next move. The new marches came as thousands of pro-government supporters — many waving Chinese flags — gathered in a park to condemn their opponents and support the police, a stark illustration of the polarisation now coursing through the city. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USTen weeks of demonstrations have plunged the international finance hub into crisis, with communist-ruled mainland China taking an increasingly hardline tone, including labelling the more violent protester actions “terrorist-like”. Democracy activists are billing the weekend rallies as a way to show Beijing and the city’s unelected leaders that their movement still enjoys broad public support, despite increasingly violent tactics deployed by a minority of hardcore protesters that have cast a shadow. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsOn Tuesday, protesters blocked passengers from boarding flights at the city’s airport and later assaulted two men they accused of being Chinese spies. Images damaged a movement that until then had largely only targeted the police or government institutions, and prompted some soul-searching among protesters. China’s propaganda apparatus seized on the violence, with state media churning out a deluge of damning articles, pictures and videos. State media also ran images of military personnel and armoured personnel carriers across the border in Shenzhen, prompting the United States to warn Beijing against sending in troops, which analysts say would be a reputational and economic disaster for China. Saturday’s rallies began with thousands of teachers marching through torrential rain in support of the largely youth-led protests. In the afternoon thousands also marched through Hung Hom and To Kwa Wan, two harbourside districts popular with mainland tourists. Some protesters targeted the local offices of the staunchly pro-Beijing Federation of Trade Unions, pelting it with eggs and spraying graffiti. “The government has yet to respond to a single demand and has escalated force through the police to suppress the people’s voices,” a 25-year-old protester, who gave his first name Mars, told AFP. “If we don’t come out, our future, our next generation will face even more suppression,” he added. But across the harbour at the pro-Beijing rally, where a giant screen showed recent clashes with police, 60-year-old retiree Irene Man had a very different take as she rounded on democracy protesters. “Their acts are not human, they have all become monsters. They are rioters, with no reason, no thinking,” she said. The biggest pro-democracy rally is expected to take place on Sunday on the main island. Billed as a “rational, non-violent” protest, it is being organised by the Civil Human Rights Front, a group that eschews confrontations with police and was the driving force behind record-breaking rallies in June and July that saw hundreds of thousands of people hit the streets. The protests were sparked by opposition to a plan to allow extraditions to the mainland, but have since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city. Millions of people have hit the streets while clashes have broken out between police and small groups of hardcore protesters. Battles between police firing tear gas and rubber bullets — and hardcore protesters using rocks, Molotov cocktails and slingshots — have since become routine in an international finance hub once renowned for stability. Beyond suspending the extradition bill, Beijing and city leader Carrie Lam have shown no desire to meet key demands such as an inquiry into police violence, the complete withdrawal of the bill and an amnesty. But protesters remain unbowed, despite the arrests of more than 700 people and 11 consecutive weekends of rallies that have won few concessions. Beijing has turned the screws on Hong Kong’s businesses, pressuring them to toe the line and condemn the protesters. On Friday, Cathay Pacific announced the shock resignation of CEO Rupert Hogg after the carrier was excoriated by Beijing because some staff supported the pro-democracy protests. On Saturday, the “Big Four” accountancy firms scrambled to distance themselves from a advert placed in a newspaper purportedly by employees saying they supported the protests. Deloitte and PwC posted statements on their websites saying the ad does not represent their positions and expressing opposition to violent or illegal behaviour. In statements quoted by Chinese state news agency Xinhua, KPMG and EY also expressed opposition to violence and illegal acts.
OTTAWA – The backlog of outstanding pay problems faced by federal civil servants has now reached a staggering 520,000, the minister responsible for the problem-plagued Phoenix pay system has revealed in a letter of apology to government employees.That number is expected to grow further, Public Services and Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough said in the letter being circulated to federal civil servants over the next couple of days, which was provided to The Canadian Press.“I am truly sorry that more than half of public servants continue to experience some form of pay issue,” the minister’s letter states. “Too many of you have been waiting too long for your pay.”“Your stories of hardship caused by the backlog of financial transactions keep me awake at night.”The outstanding transactions include non-financial requests from employees, such as changes to banking or home address information.But it also includes 265,000 cases in which government workers have been underpaid, overpaid, or not paid at all and have waited beyond what the government considers an acceptable period of time for their issues to be resolved.In the letter, Qualtrough repeated what she and her predecessor in the portfolio have been saying for months — that the situation is “unacceptable.”And she emphasized that anyone working in government who is experiencing financial hardship as a result of pay problems can request an emergency salary advance.One major factor that has prevented the government from reducing the pay issue backlog was the recent need to retroactively adjust the paycheques of government workers after new collective agreements were ratified.So far, roughly 184,000 government employees have seen their paycheques adjusted to the new contracts, the minister said.But another 20,000 collective agreement payments have yet to be processed and the number is expected to grow in coming weeks as more renewed contracts come into force.Qualtrough said dealing with the pay system backlog will continue to be a slow process as the government seeks a “permanent solution” to the Phoenix debacle.But her letter made no mention of a call this week by one of the country’s biggest civil service unions to build an in-house pay system and to scrap the Phoenix system altogether.The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada said earlier this week that IT professionals already working within government can build and thoroughly test a new pay system within a year.The government has so far earmarked $400 million to fix the system and to deal with the existing pay backlog, partly by hiring more pay administrators at centres in Quebec and New Brunswick. But Qualtrough said in an interview aired last weekend that she could not guarantee the amount wouldn’t reach $1 billion.The government hasn’t hired nearly enough people, quickly enough, to deal with the massive backlog of pay cases, the Public Service Alliance of Canada said Thursday.“The government needs to step up its hiring process and expand the compensation capacity both in the pay centres and in departments,” said PSAC national president Robyn Benson.Initiated by the previous Conservative government in 2009, the Phoenix system was meant to streamline the payroll of public servants across dozens of departments and agencies, and save more than $70 million annually.In a joint statement issued Thursday, Qualtrough and Treasury Board President Scott Brison again accused the Conservatives of saddling the government with a “botched” system.“They rushed the design and implementation, did not train staff, all while firing 700 experienced pay advisers who were needed to make sure public servants were paid on time,” said the statement.The Conservatives have denied responsibility for the debacle, saying it was the Liberals, elected in 2015, who ultimately failed to heed warnings from civil service unions that the system wasn’t ready before fully launching it in April 2016.A report from an auditor general’s review of the Phoenix pay system problems is expected to be made public next week.— Follow @tpedwell on Twitter