Thursday, September 30, 2010

Another modus operandi

Another Modus Operandi of the Most Common Crimes in Manila

Condo Criminals

Scene of the crime:
Condominiums, apartment buildings, and townhouse compounds.

Plan of attack:

Thieves invade units that are left unlocked or simply break into random units. Once inside, they ransack the place for valuables. To top it all off, some thieves also vandalize the units they invade.

Defense mechanism:

Lock the door even when you’re inside the condo unit. Add a chain lock (this one, if you dare). Ask the landlord to beef up the security or at least make sure the guards aren’t sleeping on the job.


Seafarers to be trained in maritime pollution prevention

Filipino seafarers will be trained on how to prevent pollution of the marine environment due to discharges of oil, chemicals, sewage and household waste from ships. According to Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) news …….

“The MARPOL training supports the 22-point labor and employment agenda of President Benigno Aquino III which emphasizes investment in the country’s human resource, our top resource, to make them more competitive and employable while promoting industrial peace based on social justice,” Baldoz said.
In 2009, the Professional Regulation Commission issued Memorandum Circular 09-24, Series of 2009 stating that MARPOL 73/78, Annexes 1-6 may be taken separately or as a single training course.
The circular noted that MARPOL training course taken from maritime training centers that are duly accredited by the MTC or recognized by the Board of Marine Deck and Engineer Officers shall be accepted.

The memorandum also stipulated that in case the training for MARPOL is conducted by the training entity of a manning agency, the said training entity must likewise be accredited by the MTC and the training must be taken for a minimum period of five days.
September 27, 2010 by Divina

risk & hazard

“To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.”

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines was facing strike action on Wednesday after the union representing cabin crew said talks with management over pay and conditions had broken down.
The Flight Attendants Association of the Philippines, which represents 1,600 members of staff, said it would no longer engage in talks with PAL management, accusing it of repeatedly rejecting demands its demands.
"We don't see the point in attending the meetings anymore," union president told AFP. "The management has maintained its hardline position and the mediation proceedings have failed."
"PAL is preparing emergency measures in case such a strike will occur," airline spokeswoman said without elaborating.
The union this month warned the government of its plan for a strike if PAL did not meet its demands for higher wages and an end to the mandatory retirement age of 45 for cabin crew, which the union said was discriminatory.
The union also accuses management of refusing to pay women who were on maternity leave while freezing pay for the past three years.
"It is the union that is playing hardball, dismissing outright management's offers without even a second glance," airline spokewoman said in a statement.
Union president said the union will begin stoppages from the end of next month, warning the walkout would ground all operations of the troubled airline during the peak season ahead of the Christmas holidays.

How to take risks and do it WELL?

1. Calculate your risks. Taking risks is like skydiving. You need to have courage to take that first step into the vast chasm of blue. But before you do that and enjoy the liberating and exciting feeling of flying, you must check your equipment and make sure that your parachute will open. Be smart about taking risks. Weigh carefully your chances of success and what you put at stake. If something goes wrong, it should not ruin you emotionally, financially or physically.

2. Have a plan B. What are the potential risks that you can encounter? What can you do if something does not go according to your initial plan? Taking risks means dealing with the possibility of failure. Having a plan B can noticeably improve your chances of success and shift the odds in your favor.

3. Look at what it is costing you NOT to take this risk. Almost always personal growth and achievements come with risk no matter whether you fail or succeed. Unconsciously you may try to resist change and try to protect your sense of security. But if in the long run it costs you your health, your relationships, your promotion, your happiness and fulfillment then you are probably paying too much for it.

4. Analyze what taking this risk is worth to you. Sometimes even if you take a risk and fail, you end up winning anyway, because you learn valuable lessons in the process and stretch your abilities. There is a certain satisfaction in knowing that you dared and went for your dream against all odds, whether you succeeded or not. Regret of never trying is usually much harder to live with than failure.

5. Let go of excuses. When we are facing a challenge and the possibility of failing, our mind ‘rationalizes’ our fears by coming up with hundreds of “logical” reasons not to do it. Take time to reflect which reasons are real and which ones are nicely disguised excuses.

And finally… Start taking risks today! The more you think about whether you should take a risk or not, the less likely you will not do it. Courage is not something we are born with. It is a quality that we develop with practice. Challenge your fears by starting to take small risks now! Go to a restaurant where you have not been before and order something that sounds really strange, buy a different style of clothing, try a new sport or do something you ordinary would not do!

It’s fun and exciting! You’ll see!

Risk Assessment Process

A Milestone: One millionth ship crosses Panama Canal

A Chinese freighter, “Fortune Plum” became the millionth vessel to cross the Panama Canal three years ahead of the waterway's 100th anniversary. The vessel actually crossed the canal on September 4, 2010 with a load of steel products from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Work began a year ago to enlarge the Panama canal to ensure that supersize container ships, cruise liners, and oil tankers will be able to navigate the waterway in the future. Since then a million ships have crossed the 80-kilometer (50-mile) canal, through which five percent of the world's trade crosses every year. (

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ten Ways to Cut Your Health Care Costs

The cost of health care continues to rise for most Americans. Therefore, it is to your benefit to do as much as possible to keep your health care costs down. Below are ten suggestions.

1. Maintain a healthy diet: For so many people, unhealthy diets, along with unhealthy habits, result in unnecessary illnesses and increase health costs. It is imperative that you watch your diet and it is advisable to add appropriate vitamins to supplement your nutritional needs.

2. Check ups and screenings: Have regularly scheduled physical examinations by your doctor, dentist, eye doctor and so on. In addition, if your company offers free medical screenings, flu shots or other benefits, take advantage of them.

3. Choose the best health plan: If you have a plan through your employer, chances are that's your means of coverage. However, if your spouse also has a plan, you might want to compare the two to determine which will save you money. Be careful because there’s more to selecting a good health plan than just saving money. If you are shopping for a health plan, compare the premiums along with what is and is not covered by the various plans.

4. Stay within the network: When you have a health care plan, look for doctors and health care providers that are within the insurance company’s network. This can save you a lot of money. However, if you need a specialist and you cannot find one in the network, put your health needs first.

5. Save money on prescription drugs: Prescription drug plans, online pharmacies, discount pharmacies, Medicare drug cards and even ordering by mail through traditional pharmacies can save you money on medications. There are several ways to obtain the prescribed medication you need, so shop around and compare prices.

6. Use your flex spending account: If your company offers such an account, you can save money by enrolling. The money is deducted from your paycheck before taxes, so you get a tax benefit.

7. Review bills and charges: Review medical bills carefully. Billing errors can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Contact the billing office if there is a billing error or you do not understand what is on your bill. Be proactive. You can also often negotiate fees and bills that you feel are too high.

8. Exercise: Join a gym, buy home exercise equipment or run a mile or more daily. Staying in good physical shape will benefit you and your health care costs.

9. Think safety: Much of the increase in health care costs for families is the result of accidents, often incurred by children. Make sure children wear bicycle helmets and learn to take safety precautions. Also make safety a priority around your home and in your car.

10. Keep good records: Keep track of your doctor visits and payments for all medical expenses from aspirin to eyeglasses. You can claim deductions on your tax return once your medical bills (beyond your coverage) exceed 7.5 percent of your AGI.

HIV risk assessment

Which is more at risk of acquiring the dreaded HIV, the promiscuity of men, or the infidelity of women (and /or the other way around)??? Maybe this traditional rhyme from Satish Kumar may help:
"From you I receive,
To you I give,
Together we share,
By this we live.

Absolute Risk and Relative Risk (Epidemiology)

What are absolute and relative risks?

Absolute risk of a disease is your risk of developing the disease over a time-period. We all have absolute risks of developing various diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, etc. The same absolute risk can be expressed in different ways. For example, say you have a 1 in 10 risk of developing a certain disease in your life. This can also be said a 10% risk, or a 0.1 risk - depending if you use percentages or decimals.

Relative risk
is used to compare the risk in two different groups of people. For example, the groups could be 'smokers' and 'non-smokers'. All sorts of groups are compared to others in medical research to see if belonging to a group increases or decreases your risk of developing certain diseases. For example, research has shown that smokers have a higher risk of developing heart disease compared to (relative to) non-smokers.

A couple of examples may illustrate this better.

An example when talking about risks of disease

Say the absolute risk of developing a disease is 4 in 100 in non-smokers. Say the relative risk of the disease is increased by 50% in smokers. The 50% relates to the '4' - so the absolute increase in the risk is 50% of 4, which is 2. So, the absolute risk of smokers developing this disease is 6 in 100.

An example when talking about treatments

Say men have a 2 in 20 risk of developing a certain disease by the time they reach the age of 60. Then, say research shows that a new treatment reduces the relative risk of getting this disease by 50%. The 50% is the relative risk reduction, and is referring to the effect on the '2'. 50% of 2 is 1. So this means that the absolute risk is reduced from from 2 in 20, to 1 in 20.

Tips to Success

By Nishant Kumar

  • Burning desire is the stepping stone for success.
  • Fulfilling commitment is vital to gain confidence.
  • Loser wants security while winner seeks opportunities.
  • People with right attitude accept responsibilities and ensure success.
  • Success doesn’t come accidentally; sincerity and hard work always pays. Take pride in doing hard work.
  • Positive attitude is very important to be a team player.
  • Journey is full of setbacks, need to overcome and bounce back with greater resolve.
  • Persistence leads to determination.
  • Take pride in whatever you are doing in order to achieve excellence.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


House keeping is a major issue when it comes to safety in the workplace. Too often hazards are purposely overlooked due to a “that’s not my job” or “I didn’t do it – let someone else fix it” mentality.

The truth is, daily trips, slips, falls, cuts, and grazes are often outcomes from poor House Keeping. And the scary thing is the statistic that slips and falls rank as the second leading cause of accidental deaths of 45 to 75 year olds. Not only is House keeping important to you and your workmates, but also to your family, friends, and clients who visit your workplace.

Childhood Tobacco Smoke Exposure Ups Risk of ADHD

Childhood Tobacco Smoke Exposure Ups Risk of ADHD

MONDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in childhood increases the odds of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but the magnitude of risk seen with elevated serum cotinine levels varies by race, according to research published online Sept. 20 in Pediatrics.
Xiaohui Xu, Ph.D., of the University of Florida in Gainesville, and colleagues examined the association between postnatal environmental tobacco smoke exposure, measured with serum cotinine levels, and ADHD among children 4 to 15 years of age. After controlling for prenatal exposure, the interactions of race and serum cotinine levels with ADHD were also studied.
Overall, the researchers found that ADHD prevalence increased as serum cotinine levels increased, but the magnitude of the cotinine effect varied by race. Comparing same-race children with the highest and lowest cotinine levels showed an ADHD odds ratio of 2.72 for Mexican-American children and 5.32 for children of races designated as "other." For non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks, there were no significant associations between cotinine level and ADHD.


Banks may soon be able to manage the risk from merchant clients’ credit-card transactions more efficiently with a new software tool being piloted now.

The risk management tool will allow merchants’ banks, also known as acquiring banks, to manage the risk from fraudulent credit card charges over the Internet with a 100-item checklist that analyzes the risk of the transaction at the time it transpires. By pinpointing transactions that look suspicious, banks’ risk management departments can either accept the charge, or prompt the merchant to ask for more information on the customer, or even refuse the transaction.

Although the merchant typically takes the risk for fraudulent transactions when the credit card is not present, such as over the Internet or with mail orders, the bank is also at risk if the merchant can’t pay, goes out of business, or is itself committing the fraud. Although rare, such a scenario can mean much more collateral damage than the more common dishonest credit card customer.
Part of the due diligence a merchant’s bank goes through when opening an account with a merchant is to inspect the store’s physical location. But, a merchant on the Internet may not have a storefront, making those inspections problematic. Such a merchant’s start-up costs are lower, but it might have a higher probability of going out of business, said Ken Musante, manager of Humboldt Bank’s merchant bankcard department.
"We should have lower merchant losses because they should be captured and stopped before the money is paid out to the merchant," Musante said the of new risk management tool, which it is not yet using. The bank piloting the new software could be not be determined by press time., a firm that helps banks collect and manage payments over the Internet, will be introducing the net-risk management tool as part of the upgrade to its current server-based software at the spring Internet World trade show in Los Angeles April 14. Humboldt works with and resells the company’s software to merchants. The Eureka, Calif.-based bank is the 27th largest acquiring bank in the U.S., processing roughly $225 million in credit card transactions a month.

The checkpoints in the new software are set by the bank. Several key indicators of fraud have been suggested by banks works with and have been included in the pilot program. Some of the 100 things that can set off red flags include the country the card transaction is coming from–a large amount of credit card fraud comes from Nigeria, for example–or what time of day the transaction happens.

Musante said some of the key checklist points to detect merchant risk are average ticket charges out of line with normal limits, a monthly volume of sales out of character, and credits or returned items that are out of line for the merchant. By estimating the general perimeters of a business, the bank can get a good idea of when suspicious transactions are taking place. For instance, if a retailer usually sells $20-$30 pieces of costume jewelry and charges in the thousands of dollars start showing up, the risk management tool will alert the bank.
Although Musante said it is too early to tell how much money the bank stands to save with the new bank-based fraud detection tool, he said it should be a big help.

Jeff Knowles, chief technical officer at, said the ultimate goal is to enable banks to take on more Internet-based merchants as customers and be able to offer them lower interchange rates by having lower losses due to fraud. Industry watchers do not expect card associations like VISA and MasterCard to lower the rate charged for card-not-present transactions–currently 1.8% compared to 1.2% for card present transactions. But a drop in fraud, as officials noted, can’t hurt banks.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Risk management consists of identifying, evaluating, selecting, and implementing specific management measures to mitigate risk potential. As such, it is the realm of the policy maker, not the risk analyst. The risk analyst identifies risk and may counsel alternatives. Decisions on preventive measures belong to the public health policy maker and, ultimately in many instances, her political boss in local, state, or national government.

In line with this, food industry sets its own preventive system and corresponding solutions to avoid errors in handling, preparation and serving of food.



1. Setting the Agenda

> Getting the facts right

2. Assessing the risk

> Keeping an open mind

3. Deciding what action to take

> Applying rigor

4. Implementing the decision

> Acting openly

5. Monitoring and reviewing the impact of the decision

> Involving stakeholders


Identifying a risk

  1. Are we being slow in identifying new risks? Are we adequately tracking emerging information on known risks?

  2. Are we taking account of those with different views to our own? Are we prepared to reopen issues where new facts emerge?

  3. Are we assessing priorities for attention, and allocating our time sensibly between them?

  4. Are we being open and honest about our agenda?

  5. Are we checking with relevant stakeholders what information they have?

Assessing the risk

  1. Are we using our in-house scientific expertise? Are we consulting scientific experts representing all major viewpoints? Are we taking steps to clarify areas of scientific uncertainty?

  2. Are we taking account of conflicting views?

  3. Are we undertaking a formal risk assessment? Are we distinguishing adequately between known risk and areas of scientific uncertainty?

  4. Are we publishing our risk assessment, and the facts underpinning it? Are we being open and honest about areas of uncertainty?

  5. Are we asking stakeholders to contribute to the risk assessment?

Deciding what action to take

  1. Do we have all the relevant (including economic) facts available?

  2. Are we listening to all interest groups – consumers, enforcement agencies, producers, special interest groups – before deciding what action is appropriate? Is there a case for reconsidering our decision? Do we need to do so?

  3. Are we considering all the relevant options for action? Are we weighing up their costs and benefits rigorously? Are we considering their practicality and enforceability?

  4. Are we publishing our decision, and the assessments underpinning it?

  5. Are we explaining to stakeholders why we have decided on the particular action?

Implementing the decision

  1. Are we taking steps to find out about the impact of our decision?

  2. Are we allowing for changes in light of experience?

  3. Are we following through our decision rigorously and effectively? Are we ensuring that it is clearly understood by consumers, producers and enforcers?

  4. Are we publishing our implementation plans?

  5. Are we allowing for feedback from stakeholders?

Monitoring and reviewing the impact of the decision

  1. Is the decision having the intended effect? Do we need to review it?

  2. If it is not having the intended effect, is that now important? Have the circumstances which led to the decision changed since it was made?

  3. Is the implementation of the decision being rigorously enforced if appropriate?

  4. Are we publishing the results of the enforcement? Are we being open about the impact of the decision?

  5. Are we obtaining feedback from stakeholders on the impact of the decision? Are we consulting stakeholders on any review of the decision?


BAHRAIN SHIPPING REPORT of BMI (Business Monitor International)

BMI has observed mixed fortunes across the big-three shipping sectors - dry bulk, liquid bulk and containers - so far in 2010. While 2009 was the year that container shipping plummeted while dry bulk outperformed, 2010 so far has seen the opposite. In the dry bulk sector BMI has witnessed a playing out of the 'China effect' in reverse, as there has been a notable retrenchment in Chinese imports of the two main materials involved in steel production - iron ore and coking coal - which fell in both April and May on the back of an increasingly cautious property and construction sector. This has been coupled with a growing oversupply of ships, which we believe will come to a head in H2. BMI expects conditions in the dry bulk sector to get worse before they get better.

Liquid bulk has so far performed better than either of the other core sectors in 2010. However, despite a strong H1, BMI cautions that the outlook for liquid bulk over the second half of the year is likely to deteriorate on the back of a worsening demand picture. At the forefront of our concerns is the likelihood of a slowdown in Chinese crude oil demand during the later months of the year and into 2011 as the economy slows from its current level of growth.

Container shipping has seen year-on-year (y-o-y) recovery across the globe, yet has still not reached its pre-downturn levels of 2008 in most markets. BMI's core view is that demand for container shipping will start to fall again in H2. This is because of the sluggish recovery of the US economy and the austerity measures being implemented in Europe. The US and eurozone are the two key markets for the container shipping sector.

The Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP) has now been in operation for over a year and its effect on Bahrain's shipping sector is being felt. The port was conceived as a way to enable container lines to pull in to Bahrain directly, offering Bahraini shippers a direct route for imports and exports, rather than the kingdom being reliant on transhipped goods from ports such as the UAE's Jebel Ali. KBSP, which is operated by APM Terminals, the port-operating unit of A.P. Moller Maersk, is also hoped to become a transhipment hub in its own right.

Efforts to develop KBSP into a transshipment hub have started to be realized. The port's general director, Hassab al Majid, announced that Singapore's APL now operates a mother ship into the port. The ship is reported to have previously used the main Middle Eastern transshipment port of Jebel Ali as its transhipment hub.

BMI believes that as the effects of the downturn subside and container volumes return, more transhipment opportunities will be in the offing for KBSP. In 2010 we project that container volumes at the port will grow by 18.9% to reach 331,884 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

In its first year of operations the port handled 279,267TEUs, an increase of 3.7% from the 269,331TEUs that its predecessor, the port of Mina Salman, handled in 2008. This year-on-year (y-o-y) growth came despite a tough operating climate for the port, with a decline in global trade and a fall in Bahrain's trade. In 2009 our country risk desk reports that Bahrain's imports fell by 2% y-o-y, with exports dropping by 1.18%

Over the mid term we forecast continued y-o-y growth in box throughput at KBSP. By the end of BMI's five-year forecast in 2014 we project that KBSP will be handling 353,616TEUs.

FYI: Business Monitor International (BMI) offers a comprehensive range of products and services designed to help senior executives, analysts and researchers assess and better manage operating risks, and exploit business opportunities, across 175 markets.

BMI offers three main areas of expertise: Country Risk BMI's country risk and macroeconomic forecast portfolio includes weekly financial market reports, monthly regional Monitors, and in-depth quarterly Business Forecast Reports.

Industry Analysis BMI covers a total of 17 industry verticals through a portfolio of services, including Daily Alerts, monthly regional Insights, and in-depth quarterly Country Forecast Reports.