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Top athletes victims
of PSC-POC turf war

IN THE ongoing feud between the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission, it is the national athletes who end up as collateral damage.

POC vice president Steve Hontiveros made this assessment Tuesday as he stressed that athletes are the ones who will eventually suffer in the ongoing disagreement between the two sports bodies over several issues regarding the Vietnam Southeast Asian Games.

"They will certainly be affected by all these, no matter how hard we protect them, because it will leave an impression that sports is in deep trouble," said Hontiveros.

The PSC and the POC have been fighting over the gold medal projection, the size of delegation, criteria to be used, marketing paraphernalia, sponsorship money and, lately, the POC's alleged discrimination of PSC representatives during screening committee meetings.

PSC chairman Eric Buhain Monday said he has created a separate task force that will go straight to the national sports associations instead of passing through the POC, which he claimed "has kept the PSC in the dark."

The plan, according to Buhain, is for the PSC to have an idea of the country's chances in the SEAG as well as provide a "safety net" in case the contingent bombs out in the Games. After all, said Buhain, the POC has snubbed the PSC representatives during their deliberations.

Hontiveros has since denied the claim, saying PSC officials themselves told the POC people to finish the SEA Games deliberations without them.

Hontiveros said PSC director for NSA affairs Tats Suzara informed him that the PSC won't send representatives anymore and that they will just meet with their POC counterparts after the screening meetings are finished.

This ran contrary to the PSC claim that the POC "snubbed" them during deliberations.

But Suzara said the reason the PSC decided not to send representatives to the monthly meetings is that the POC "obviously doesn't want our presence there."

Suzara claimed that, in one meeting two months ago, he was informed through a text message that it was postponed, only to learn later that the deliberation pushed through that day.

Hontiveros countered that he personally called up Suzara to say the meeting was pushing through after all.


So far, our best guess is Korean singer Kwon Boa.

Rumors have been circulating the net for months now that she had been cast as Cho, but no confirmation could be found. Recently, "Seventeen Indonesia" magazine printed something like this:

"It happened when BoA visited London to sing with internationally famous boyband, Westlife, for their newest album, "Unbreakable: The Greatest Hits". In London, she got a request to play as Cho Chang in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban".

Warner Bros. took top honors in the majors' overseas box office derby last year, thanks to a boffo run from "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."

The studio is reluctant to take a stab at estimating the final tally for "Chamber," which has fetched $476.1 million abroad to date, vs. the first "Harry's" $658.2 million. But the sequel was tracking marginally ahead of the original through Dec. 31, and she was delighted to see the boy wiz's takings in most major markets shot up during the year-end vacation despite the invasion of "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers."

Global News

India, China forge
'forward-looking' ties

BEIJING - Asian powers China and India are creating a new forward-looking relationship during "excellent" meetings between the nuclear neighbors, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said Tuesday.

Ties between the two countries have for decades been plagued by tensions over issues such as Tibet, close Chinese ties with Pakistan and territorial disputes, but the Indian leader looked to turn the page on past enmity.

"I must say with great satisfaction that my meetings with the leadership of China have been excellent," he told the Sino-Indian Economic Cooperation Symposium during the first visit by an Indian premier to China for a decade.

"They have confirmed that the desire to build stable, enduring and forward-looking ties of friendship is shared by the highest political levels in both countries," Vajpayee said.

The mutual backslapping from Vajpayee's meeting Monday with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao continued Tuesday in talks with military leader Jiang Zemin who described the Indian premier as "an old friend."

Vajpayee said his visit had imparted "a fresh momentum to the comprehensive cooperation which India and China are in the process of building."

On Monday the Asian giants signed a landmark declaration that outlined the goals for what they hope will be a new era of harmonious relations.

Few details were released on the wording of the pact but the China Daily newspaper Tuesday said that in the declaration India for the first time recognized Tibet as Chinese territory.

China has occupied Tibet since 1951 and has been accused of trying to wipe out Tibet's Buddhist-based culture through political and religious repression and a flood of ethnic Chinese immigration.

India is home to some 100,000 Tibetans who have fled China and provides the base for the Tibetan government-in-exile, and the move to recognize Tibet as part of China could remove a significant source of tension between New Delhi and Beijing.

Both sides have appeared intent on injecting new life into ties during Vajpayee's visit.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao made clear that China did not view India's development as a threat and China's development should not pose a threat to India.

Vajpayee added that there had been "encouraging" results on economic cooperation with bilateral trade growing at an annual rate of 30 percent, which he said was "quite significant."

"Of course we have much further to go to realize the full potential of our partnership," he said.

"We have, first and foremost, to bridge the information gap between the business communities of our two countries. There has to be far greater exposure in each country of the opportunities available in the other."