Аласанія заявив про порушення з боку Наглядової ради НСТУ

Голова правління Публічного акціонерного товариства «Національна суспільна телекомпанія України» Зураб Аласанія заявив про порушення з боку членів Наглядової ради НСТУ під час голосування про дострокове розірвання контракту з Аласанією.

«У порядку денному питання не було. За поданням «з голосу» Козака і поправкою Панича поставили на голосування, зробили голосування «закритим і таємним» та проголосували. Складом: Тетяна Лебедєва, Світлана Остапа, Вадим Міський, Володимир Яворівський, Тарас Аврахов, Олексій Панич, В‘ячеслав Козак, Віктор Таран, Сергій Таран, Наталя Скрипка, Ігор Хохич, Олександр Павличенко. Троє проти, дев’ять – за. Причини мені невідомі, офіційного обґрунтування немає (обіцяють за тиждень)», – ідеться у Facebook-повідомленні Аласанії.

«Що далі? Порушено всі процедури; судова боротьба можлива і навіть обов‘язкова – після обнародування причин», – написав Зураб Аласанія і попросив журналістів про підтримку «Суспільного».

Наглядова рада «Суспільного» 31 січня більшістю голосів проголосувала за дострокове розірвання контракту з головою правління ПАТ НСТУ Зурабом Аласанією, повідомила у Facebook представниця ради Світлана Остапа.

Зураб Аласанія є головою правління Національної суспільної телерадіокомпанії України з квітня 2017-го. Згідно з контрактом, він мав працювати на цій посаді до 14 травня 2021 року.

20 грудня минулого року Наглядова рада ухвалила рішення про продовження мовлення ще на рік програм журналістських розслідувань «Схеми» та «Наші гроші з Денисом Бігусом». На день раніше автори обох проектів Наталія Седлецька та Денис Бігус заявили про ймовірність, що на засіданні ради буде розглядатися припинення їхньої трансляції.

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Росія не дозволяє розпочати миротворчий процес на Донбасі – Волкер

Росія не дозволяє розпочати миротворчий процес під егідою ООН на Донбасі, заявив 31 січня на телефонному брифінгу з Брюсселя спеціальний представник США з питань України Курт Волкер.

Відповідаючи на запитання про те, наскільки реалістичним є мирний план, який днями запропоновав посередник на переговорах від ОБСЄ Мартін Сайдік, Волкер наголосив: «Фундаментальним питанням є те, чи Росія готова погодитися з тим, щоб міжнародна миротворча місія замінила російські війська і створила справжній мир та безпеку на Донбасі. Якщо Росія готова на це погодитися, то це би відбувалося під мандатом ООН, і ООН могла б створити справжнє середовище безпеки, яке б дозволило виконати Мінські угоди і закінчити конфлікт», – вважає Курт Волкер.

«Головною проблемою є те, що Росія не погоджується з тим, що потрібні миротворчі сили, Росія заперечує той факт, що вона окупувала території», – додав американський дипломат. 

Посередник на переговорах від ОБСЄ Мартін Сайдік запропонував замінити Мінські угоди новим мирним планом. В інтерв’ю австрійській газеті Kleine Zeitung він заявив, що йдеться про залучення ООН до проведення місцевих виборів і гарантування безпеки.

 

Сайдік сказав, що потрібний інший документ, який матиме «справжню політичну і правову вагу», оскільки Мінські угоди так і не були ратифіковані російським і українським парламентами. Сайдік також зауважив, що в новій угоді мають брати участь представники «окремих районів Донецької та Луганської областей».

 

Віце-спікер українського парламенту Ірина Геращенко, яка представляє Україну в гуманітарній підгрупі на мінських переговорах, в інтерв’ю Радіо Свобода перед переговорами в Мінську назвала пропозиції посла Сайдіка «нереалістичними».

 

За її словами, поява нового мирного плану означала фактично, що «потрібно пробачити Москві за порушення Мінських угод в гуманітарній сфері і сфері безпеки». На переконання Геращенко, Росія має бути покарана за невиконання Мінських угод.

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НСТУ розірвала контракт з Зурабом Аласанією

Наглядова рада «Суспільного» більшістю голосів проголосувала за дострокове розірвання контракту з головою правління ПАТ НСТУ Зурабом Аласанією, повідомила у Facebook представниця ради Світлана Остапа.

За її словами, за таке рішення проголосували 9 членів ради, проти було троє.

Сам Аласанія ситуацію наразі не коментує.

Повідомити про причини такого рішення до оприлюднення протоколів засідання відмовилася і голова наглядової ради Тетяна Лебедєва. За її словами, це відбудеться приблизно за тиждень.

На запитання Радіо Свобода, чи може бути причиною висловлення недовіри продовження на рік в ефірі «Суспільного» трансляції програм журналістських розслідувань, Лебедєва запевнила, що це питання під час засідання не обговорювалося.

«Це взагалі абсолютно штучна історія, яку я не знаю, для чого вигадали. І ніхто не вибачився минулого разу за цю історію і цей наклеп на нас», – сказала вона Радіо Свобода.

Зураб Аласанія був головою правління Національної суспільної телерадіокомпанії України з квітня 2017-го. Згідно з контрактом, він мав працювати на цій посаді до 14 травня 2021 року.

20 грудня минулого року Наглядова рада ухвалила рішення про продовження мовлення ще на рік програм журналістських розслідувань «Схеми» та «Наші гроші з Денисом Бігусом». На день раніше автори обох проектів Наталія Седлецька та Денис Бігус заявили про ймовірність, що на засіданні ради буде розглядатися припинення їхньої трансляції.  

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Ghirardelli, Russel Stover Fined over Chocolate Packaging

Ghirardelli and Russell Stover have agreed to pay $750,000 in fines after prosecutors in California said they offered a little chocolate in a lot of wrapping.

Prosecutors in Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Fresno, Santa Cruz and Yolo counties sued the candy makers, alleging they misled consumers by selling chocolate products in containers that were oversized or “predominantly empty.”

Prosecutors also alleged that Ghirardelli offered one chocolate product containing less cocoa than advertised.

The firms didn’t acknowledge any wrongdoing but agreed to change their packaging under a settlement approved earlier this month. Some packages will shrink or will have a transparent window so consumers can look inside.

San Francisco-based Ghirardelli and Kansas City-based Russell Stover are owned by a Swiss company, Lindt & Sprungli.

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Apple Busts Facebook for Distributing Data-Sucking App

Apple says Facebook can no longer distribute an app that paid users, including teenagers, to extensively track their phone and web use.

In doing so, Apple closed off Facebook’s efforts to sidestep Apple’s app store and its tighter rules on privacy.

The tech blog TechCrunch reported late Tuesday that Facebook paid people about $20 a month to install and use the Facebook Research app. While Facebook says this was done with permission, the company has a history of defining “permission” loosely and obscuring what data it collects.

“I don’t think they make it very clear to users precisely what level of access they were granting when they gave permission,” mobile app security researcher Will Strafach said Wednesday. “There is simply no way the users understood this.”

He said Facebook’s claim that users understood the scope of data collection was “muddying the waters.”

Facebook says fewer than 5 percent of the app’s users were teens and they had parental permission. Nonetheless, the revelation is yet another blemish on Facebook’s track record on privacy and could invite further regulatory scrutiny.

And it comes less than a week after court documents revealed that Facebook allowed children to rack up huge bills on digital games and that it had rejected recommendations for addressing it for fear of hurting revenue growth.

For now, the app appears to be available for Android phones, though not through Google’s main app store. Google had no comment Wednesday.

Apple said Facebook was distributing Facebook Research through an internal-distribution mechanism meant for company employees, not outsiders. Apple has revoked that capability.

TechCrunch reported separately Wednesday that Google was using the same privileged access to Apple’s mobile operating system for a market-research app, Screenwise Meter. Asked about it by The Associated Press, Google said it had disabled the app on Apple devices and apologized for its “mistake.”

The company said Google had always been “upfront with users” about how it used data collected by the app, which offered users points that could be accrued for gift cards. In contrast to the Facebook Research app, Google said its Screenwise Meter app never asked users to let the company circumvent network encryption, meaning it is far less intrusive.

Facebook is still permitted to distribute apps through Apple’s app store, though such apps are reviewed by Apple ahead of time. And Apple’s move Wednesday restricts Facebook’s ability to test those apps — including core apps such as Facebook and Instagram — before they are released through the app store.

Facebook previously pulled an app called Onavo Protect from Apple’s app store because of its stricter requirements. But Strafach, who dismantled the Facebook Research app on TechCrunch’s behalf, told the AP that it was mostly Onavo repackaged and rebranded, as the two apps shared about 98 percent of their code.

As of Wednesday, a disclosure form on Betabound, one of the services that distributed Facebook Research, informed prospective users that by installing Facebook Research, they are letting Facebook collect a range of data. This includes information on apps users have installed, when they use them and what they do on them. Information is also collected on how other people interact with users and their content within those apps, according to the disclosure.

Betabound warned that Facebook may collect information even when an app or web browser uses encryption.

Strafach said emails, social media activities, private messages and just about anything else could be intercepted. He said the only data absolutely safe from snooping are from services, such as Signal and Apple’s iMessages, that fully encrypt messages prior to transmission, a method known as end-to-end encryption.

Strafach, who is CEO of Guardian Mobile Firewall, said he was aghast to discover Facebook caught red-handed violating Apple’s trust.

He said such traffic-capturing tools are only supposed to be for trusted partners to use internally. Instead, he said Facebook was scooping up all incoming and outgoing data traffic from unwitting members of the public — in an app geared toward teenagers.

“This is very flagrantly not allowed,” Strafach said. “It’s mind-blowing how defiant Facebook was acting.”

 

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Trump Order Asks Federal Fund Recipients to Buy US Goods

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order Thursday pushing those who receive federal funds to “buy American.” The aim is to boost U.S. manufacturing.

Peter Navarro, director of the White House National Trade Council, told reporters during a telephone briefing the policies are helping workers who “are blue collar, Trump people.” Later he amended that, saying he “every American is a Trump person” because Trump’s economic policies affect everyone.

 

Navarro said the order would affect federal financial assistance, which includes everything from loans and grants to insurance and interest subsidies.

 

He says some 30 federal agencies award over $700 billion in such aid each year. Recipients working on projects like bridges and sewer systems will be encouraged to use American products.

 

 

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Survey: 2018 ‘Worst Year Ever’ for Smartphone Market

Global smartphone sales saw their worst contraction ever in 2018, and the outlook for 2019 isn’t much better, new surveys show.

Worldwide handset volumes declined 4.1 percent in 2018 to a total of 1.4 billion units shipped for the full year, according to research firm IDC, which sees a potential for further declines this year.

“Globally the smartphone market is a mess right now,” said IDC analyst Ryan Reith.

“Outside of a handful of high-growth markets like India, Indonesia, (South) Korea and Vietnam, we did not see a lot of positive activity in 2018.”

Reith said the market has been hit by consumers waiting longer to replace their phones, frustration around the high cost of premium devices, and political and economic uncertainty.

The Chinese market, which accounts for roughly 30 percent of smartphone sales, was especially hard hit with a 10 percent drop, according to IDC’s survey, which was released Wednesday.

IDC said the top five smartphone makers have become stronger and now account for 69 percent of worldwide sales, up from 63 percent a year ago.

Samsung remained the number one handset maker with a 20.8 percent share despite an eight percent sales slump for the year, IDC said.

Apple managed to recapture the number two position with a 14.9 percent market share, moving ahead of Huawei at 14.7 percent, the survey found.

IDC said fourth-quarter smartphone sales fell 4.9 percent – the fifth consecutive quarter of decline.

“The challenging holiday quarter closes out the worst year ever for smartphone shipments,” IDC said in its report.

A separate report by Counterpoint Research showed similar findings, estimating a seven percent drop in the fourth quarter and four percent drop for the full year.

“The collective smartphone shipment growth of emerging markets such as India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Russia and others was not enough to offset the decline in China,” said Counterpoint associate director Tarun Pathak.

 

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Need for Speed: Carts on Rails Help Manila’s Commuters Dodge Gridlock

Thousands of commuters flock to Manila’s railway tracks every day, but rather than boarding the trains, they climb on to wooden carts pushed along the tracks, to avoid the Philippine capital’s infamous traffic gridlock.

The trolleys, as the carts are known, most of them fitted with colorful umbrellas for shade from the sun, can seat up to 10 people each, who pay as little as 20 U.S. cents per ride, cheaper than most train rides.

“I do this because it gives us money that’s easy to earn,” said Reynaldo Diaz, 40, who is one of more than 100 operators, also known as “trolley boys,” who push the carts along the 28-km (17-mile) track, most wearing flimsy flip-flops on their feet.

“It’s better than stealing from others,” said Diaz, adding that he earned around $10 a day, just enough for his family to get by. A trolley boy since he was 17, he lives in a makeshift shelter beside the track with his two sons.

Diaz said the trolley boys were just “borrowing” the track from the Philippine National Railways, but the state-owned train company has moved to halt the trolley service after the media drew attention to its dangers recently.

The risk arises because those pushing and riding the trolleys have to watch out for the trains to avoid collisions.

“Of course we get scared of the trains,” said Jun Albeza, 32, who has been a trolley boy for four years after he was laid off from plumbing and construction jobs.

“That’s why, whenever we’re pushing these trolleys, we always look back, so we can see if there’s a train coming. Those in front of us will give us a heads-up too.”

When a train approaches, the trolley boys quickly grab the lightweight carts off the track and jump out of the way along with their riders.

Still, there have been no fatal accidents since the makeshift service started decades ago, some of the trolley boys told Reuters.

A Manila police officer confirmed that records showed no casualties related to the trolley boys.

“It is really dangerous and should not be allowed, But we understand that it’s their livelihood,” said the officer, Bryan Silvan. “They’re like mushrooms that just popped up along the tracks and they even have their own association.”

When the Philippine National Railways began operation in the 1960s, its network of more than 100 stations extended to provinces outside Manila.

But neglect and natural disasters have since caused it to cut back operations by two-thirds, even as the capital’s population has ballooned to about 13 million.

For office workers and students, the minutes shaved off daily commutes justify the risks of trolley rides.

“The distance to our workplaces is actually shorter through this route,” said one office worker, Charlette Magtrayo.

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Lawmakers Attempt to Rein in President’s Tariff Power

U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday introduced legislation to limit the president’s power to levy import tariffs for national security reasons. The bills face an uncertain future but underscore bipartisan concerns on Capitol Hill over the rising costs of the Trump administration’s trade policies.

The United States in 2018 slapped duties on aluminum and steel from other countries, drawing criticism from lawmakers who support free trade and complaints of rising supply chain costs across business sectors.

Two bipartisan groups of lawmakers Wednesday introduced legislation known as the Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The bills would require Trump to have congressional approval before taking trade actions like tariffs and quotas under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. The law currently allows the president to impose such tariffs without approval from Capitol Hill.

“The imposition of these taxes, under the false pretense of national security (Section 232), is weakening our economy, threatening American jobs, and eroding our credibility with other nations,” said Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, co-sponsor of the Senate bill.

Toomey led a similar push last year that did not go to a vote.

It is unclear that Congress would consider taking up such legislation now. Still, the bills underscore mounting pressure from lawmakers to address concerns over tariffs, especially those on Canada and Mexico as lawmakers prepare to vote on a new North American trade deal agreed to late last year.

​Republican Chuck Grassley from Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, earlier pressed the Trump administration to lift tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico before Congress begins considering legislation to implement the new pact.

Numerous business and agricultural groups have come out in support of the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement, but have said its benefits will be limited so long as the U.S. tariffs and retaliatory tariffs from Canada and Mexico remain in place.

Companies are able to request exemptions from the steel and aluminum tariffs, but the process has been plagued by delays and uncertainty.

“Virginia consumers and industries like craft beer and agriculture are hurting because of the president’s steel and aluminum tariffs,” said Democratic Senator Mark Warner, co-sponsor of the Senate legislation. “This bill would roll them back.”

Republicans Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin and Darin LaHood of Illinois and Democrats Ron Kind of Wisconsin and Jimmy Panetta of California introduced the House legislation.

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Trump Organization to Use E-Verify for Worker Status Checks

The Trump Organization, responding to claims that some of its workers were in the U.S. illegally, said on Wednesday that it will use the E-Verify electronic system at all of its properties to check employees’ documentation.

A lawyer for a dozen immigrant workers at the Trump National Golf Club in New York’s Westchester County said recently that they were fired on Jan. 18. He said many had worked there for a dozen or more years. Workers at another Trump club in Bedminster, New Jersey, came forward last month to allege managers there had hired them knowing they were in the country illegally.

“We are actively engaged in uniforming this process across our properties and will institute E-verify at any property not currently utilizing this system,” Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, said in a statement provided to The Associated Press. “As a company we take this obligation very seriously and when faced with a situation in which an employee has presented false and fraudulent documentation, we will take appropriate action.”

“I must say, for me personally, this whole thing is truly heartbreaking,” he added. “Our employees are like family but when presented with fake documents, an employer has little choice.”

Launched in 1996, the E-Verify system allows employers to check documentation submitted by job applicants with records at the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration to see whether they are authorized to work. 

During his presidential campaign, Republican Donald Trump called for all employers to use the federal government online E-Verify system. He told MSNBC in 2016 that he uses it at his properties, and that there should be a “huge financial penalty” for companies that hire workers who are in the country illegally.

Several of those workers from Trump’s properties paid visits to Congressional offices this week in hopes of raising support for their fight against possible deportation. One Democrat, New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, confirmed Wednesday that she had invited a maid who had cleaned President Trump’s rooms at Bedminster as her guest at his State of the Union speech.

The maid, Victorina Morales, was featured in a New York Times story last month titled “Making President Trump’s Bed: A Housekeeper Without Papers.” She has said that managers there knew she was living in the country illegally, helped her obtain false documentation and that she was physically abused by a supervisor.

Morales’ lawyer, Anibal Romero, said that Morales had accepted the invitation.

The Trump Organization has said it does not tolerate employing workers who are living in the U.S. without legal permission, and any problems with hiring is not unique to the company.

“It demonstrates that our immigration system is severely broken and needs to be fixed immediately,” Eric Trump said in his statement. “It is my greatest hope that our ‘lawmakers’ return to work and actually do their jobs.”

President Trump has repeatedly cast the millions of immigrants in the country illegally as a scourge on the health of the economy, taking jobs from American citizens. He has said they also bring drugs and crime over the border.

He turned over day-to-day management of his business to Eric and his other adult son, Donald Jr., when he took the oath of office two years ago. The Trump Organization owns or manages 17 golf clubs around the world.

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Україна має право на власне майбутнє – голова МЗС Чехії

Міністр закордонних справ Чехії Томаш Петршичек заявив, що Україна повинна мати право сама вирішувати своє майбутнє, незалежно від бажань Росії.

 

«Україна є важливим партнером Європейського союзу та Чехії, і ми б хотіли, щоб вона мала право на те, щоб обрати своє власне майбутнє. Я переконаний, що питання «сфер впливу» є справою минулого, і ми б не хотіли, щоб воно поверталося до міжнародних стосунків», – сказав в ексклюзивному інтерв’ю Радіо Свобода міністр закордонних справ Чехії Томаш Петршичек після закінчення дводенного візиту до України.

 

Він наголосив, що для Чехії є важливим дотримання міжнародного права. «А якщо це не так, то ми б мали піднести свій голос та чітко назвати речі своїми іменами», – сказав міністр після своєї поїздки на Донбас, де він побував на лінії зіткнення та в Маріуполі. 

 

Міністр також пообіцяв на зустрічі представників влади наступного тижня поінформувати їх про те, що він «дізнався і побачив тут в Україні, в Маріуполі». За словами Томаша Петршичека, це буде важливий аргумент до дискусії щодо скасування санкцій щодо Росії, що розпочалася серед керівників Чехії ще у вересні минулого року.

 

«Немає поступу у виконанні Мінських угод, конфлікт заморожується, а ми не повинні допустити, щоб у Європі створився ще один заморожений конфлікт», – наголосив Томаш Петршичек.

 

У рамках свого візиту до України 28–29 січня міністр закордонних справ Чехії Томаш Петршичек побував у Києві та на Донбасі. Він провів зустрічі з українськими урядовцями, відвідав лінію зіткнення та Маріупольський порт. Керівники цього підприємства, а також очільники приазовського міста ознайомили його з втратами людськими та економічними, яких зазнав регіон унаслідок російської агресії, що триває з 2014 року.

 

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Ірина Луценко заявила про позов до суду проти Гриценка – через сина

«Від імені всіх матерів наших захисників Вітчизни подам на Гриценка до суду. І всі гроші віддам на потреби армії»

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ЦВК: понад шість тисяч виборців скористалися тимчасовою зміною місця голосування

Понад 6 300 виборців скористалися тимчасовою зміною місця голосування, свідчить інформація на сайті Державного реєстру виборців Центральної виборчої комісії.

Найбільше тимчасово перереєстрованих виборців – 3 359 – з Донецької області.

У вересні 2018-го ЦВК спростила процедуру голосування для жителів непідконтрольної Україні території.

Українці, які мають прописку в ОРДЛО чи в Криму, можуть не додавати до заяви документи, які підтверджують необхідність тимчасової зміни місця їх голосування.

Їм потрібно буде звернутися до відділу державного реєстру виборців за місцем проживання і написати заяву про тимчасову зміну місця голосування, для цього необхідно мати при собі паспорт.

Вибори президента України відбудуться 31 березня 2019 року.

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A Virtual Human Teaches Negotiating Skills

Whether it’s haggling for a better price or negotiating for a higher salary, there is a skill to getting the most of what you want. Researchers at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies are conducting research on how a virtual negotiator may be able to teach you the art of making a good deal. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee has the details.

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Rising-Star Philippine Economy Slips, 2019 Seen as Pivotal

The Philippines ranked among Asia’s 10 fastest growing economies in 2017. Consumer power, remittances from overseas workers and an influx of call centers had given it that status, raising hopes for easing rampant poverty. Then GDP expansion wobbled in 2018 because of rising prices and lack of new direct investment.

Now state spending on new infrastructure and local tourism are expected to decide whether the Philippines can get back on track this year.

The Philippine economy grew 6.2 percent last year, down from 6.7 percent in 2017 and 6.9 percent a year earlier. Inflation dented consumption in late 2018, while factory investors stayed away for lack of infrastructure compared to what’s available elsewhere in Asia. Storm damage to crops, another economic backbone, and the six-month shutdown of the tourist hotspot Boracay Island ate away further at growth.

“I think it’s a combination of factors,” said Eduardo Araral, associate professor at the National University of Singapore’s public policy school. “One would be inflation, because that would slow down consumption. Infrastructure is always a constraint. The economy is growing, but the bottlenecks are not yet fixed.”

Slumps in farming, consumption

A spike in consumer prices in the Philippines in late 2018 angered many, testing the popularity of President Rodrigo Duterte in his third year in office. August inflation set a nine-year record at 6.4 percent, then the highest in Southeast Asia.

World oil price hikes were felt at the pump, while reports of rice scarcity raised prices in some parts of the country. More than 70 percent of the $313 billion Philippine economy comes from consumption, and people – especially the poor – mind their spending when prices are up.

The GDP struggled to grow also after deadly typhoon Mangkhut caused $509 million in agricultural damage in September and three months later tropical storm Usman caused another $19 million in farm losses.

The Western Pacific archipelago gets typhoons every year but still lacks infrastructure to withstand them, said Song Seng Wun, regional economist with the private banking unit of CIMB in Singapore.

Tourism was robust overall last year, but the closure of Boracay Island hurt the country’s prime tourism spot. Duterte declared a state of calamity from April through October to clean up the island, which had brought in more than $1 billion in tourism receipts in 2017.

Quest for investors

But the lack of capital investment weighs particularly hard on economic policymakers this year. The country, known for cheap, skilled labor, is still missing the ports, railways and power generation capacity that business people expect before opening shop. Investment would create jobs, in turn easing poverty.

“In terms of the whole ease of doing business, the Philippines ranks very low, but one of those reasons is poor infrastructure,” said Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS Markit.

To attract more capital, the government is building $171 billion worth of infrastructure by 2022, one of Duterte’s priorities in office. By the same year, the government aims to cut poverty from 22 percent to 14 percent of the population.

Officials are sighting for this year new roads and a railway system on the impoverished island of Mindanao, flood control work around Manila and the first phase of a Metro Manila subway project, Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno said on his department’s website.

Progress on infrastructure would also show that the Philippines can overcome political fights that include open spats between Duterte and his detractors in Congress or the mass media, economists believe.

“Investors like clarity,” Song said. “So when you have leaders or opinion makers who can be very abrasive as well, would you want to be putting in millions of millions of investments given that environment?”

The budget department flagged manufacturing growth as an “area of concern.” In a statement on the 2018 economy, the department urged more transport infrastructure and asked Congress to amend the Foreign Investments Act, which deters foreign investors by limiting how much they can invest in certain local industries.

Bright spots

Some analysts already point to bright spots in the 2019 economy. Tourism on the heavily populated island Cebu stands to help real estate there, Biswas said, while tourism and investment are booming near the former U.S. airbase at Clark Field.

The Asian Development Bank expects 6.7 percent growth this year.

“If you look at it from a perspective that the Philippines is actually working on its infrastructure to attract investors, you have a government commitment to keep on spending, and you have a country whose growth is actually moving away from the key cities but into other areas, that will support above 6 percent growth,” said Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist with Banco de Oro UniBank in Metro Manila.

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