4 Chinese nationals apprehended for disturbance in Las Piñas City

Have you been to BF Homes within the jurisdiction of Las Piñas City lately? In case you missed the news, there was a disturbance that happened there and it involved foreign nationals who eventually got arrested by the local police, according to a Manila Bulletin news report.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Manila Bulletin news report. Some parts in boldface…

Four Chinese were arrested by members of the Las Pinas City police for alarm and scandal and for possession of firearms on Monday (Jan. 24).

Police identified the suspects as Zhao Yi, 32; Zheng Chao, 32; Zhuang Zhi, 34; and Li Xue, 32, a businesswoman, all residents of Unit 617 Tower 2, Avida Tower, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

Southern Police District (SPD) Director Brig. Gen. Jimili Macaraeg said the suspects were arrested at about 6:30 p.m. at Gate I Inner Circle Home Owners Association Inc., BF Homes, Barangay Almanza Uno, Las Pinas City.

Investigation showed the suspects were on board a black Ford Everest with plate number CAA 7449 driven by Zhao and tried to enter the subdivision but was prevented by security guards for having no homeowners association sticker and no valid ID.

The police said Zhao bumped the gate of the subdivision resulting in damages that prompted security guards to ask for police assistance.

Macaraeg said the three Chinese companions of Zhao tried to stop the police from arresting him that also resulted in their arrest.

The above report ended stating that a .45 caliber pistol loaded with six live pieces of ammunition was found in the possession of one of the foreigners.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this recent development? Did you encounter any troublesome foreigners within your local community? What should the Bureau of Immigration (BI) do about the reported four Chinese nationals who got arrested?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

Antitrust notification for Robinsons’ full takeover of Ministop not needed according to Philippine Competition Commission (PCC)

If you have been living here in the Philippines, have you visited any branch of the Ministop chain of convenience stores lately? Did you notice that the term acquisition was more prominent recently in business news as of late mainly due to the Microsoft-Activision-Blizzard deal?

The point here is that another acquisition happening in the Philippines – Robinsons is set for a full takeover of Ministop (which itself is already majority owned by the said corporation) and an antitrust notification is not needed according to the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC). This was reported lately by GMA Network news.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the GMA news report. Some parts in boldface…

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) said Tuesday Robinsons Supermarket Corp. does not need to notify the antitrust watchdog of its full takeover of the Ministop franchise in the country as the company already has majority control over the convenience store franchise.

“Based on PCC’s merger rules, the Commission acknowledges that Robinsons’ current majority stake in Ministop already affords them control, and Robinsons is no longer required to notify the proposed acquisition to the antitrust commission,” the antitrust body said in a statement.

On Monday, Robinsons Supermarket —a wholly-owned subsidiary of Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. (RRHI)— announced it will acquire the 40% share of Ministop Japan in Robinsons Convenience Stores Inc. (RCSI), effectively taking full ownership of the business.

RCSI is the exclusive franchisee of Ministop in the Philippines, with Robinsons Supermarket Corp. holding a 60% stake in the firm. It will continue to operate the stores with the Ministop brand, within a prescribed transition period agreed upon with the Japanese counterpart.

RRHI said the stores will continue to operate as Ministop until they are repurposed and appropriately rebranded, in consideration of its ready-to-eat offerings such as Uncle John’s Fried Chicken and Kariman.

The PCC said it received reports of Ministop Japan’s sale to Lotte, including its sale of its joint venture stake in the Philippines.

Nikkei Asia reported that the Japanese convenience store operator will sell its South Korean and Philippine businesses, after unloading a Chinese subsidiary in Qingdao.

The PCC, however, noted that it will look into Robinsons’ portfolio in the consumer retail sector which includes supermarkets, department stores, and community malls, among others.

Merger reviews are focused on the effects and changes of market behavior in the hands of new owners or stakeholders,” it said.

“This transaction may result in a change in ownership of a significant portion of equity but it is not likely to have an effect on the economic behavior of the target firm,” it added.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this business development? If you are a regular customer of Ministop, what do you think will happen once the full takeover by Robinsons happens? Do you think that the quality of the customer service and store facilities will improve? When it comes to convenience store competition here in the Philippines, how do you rate Ministop with the likes of 7-Eleven, FamilyMart and Lawson? Are you personally attached to Ministop’s branch?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

Public hearing and investigation on Maynilad will happen soon in Muntinlupa City

If you are a local resident or if you manage a business within Muntinlupa City, did you experience the recent water supply interruption? Be aware that the City Council of Muntinlupa will soon conduct a public hearing to get answers from water concessionaire Maynilad regarding the water supply interruption that affected many around the city, the Manila Bulletin reported

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Manila Bulletin news report. Some parts in boldface…

The Muntinlupa City Council will conduct a public hearing to investigate Maynilad on the severe water supply interruption being implemented that has affected thousands of households and businesses in the city.

Maynilad extended the water supply interruption to Feb. 15 instead of Jan. 20 that it earlier announced.

Households in Muntinlupa have experienced up to 18 hours without water service while other areas have no water supply for days.

According to the Muntinlupa City government, councilors are asking that people from Maynilad involved in the operation of water service should be the one to attend and not just any representative who cannot make a decision or explanation about the matter.

Among the topics to be discussed are asking Maynilad to deploy more water tankers to supply to different communities and payment holiday on the days without any water supply.

City Council Majority Floor Leader Raul Corro told Manila Bulletin that they are just awaiting the notice of public hearing from the City Council secretary and chairman of the committee concerned on the date of the public hearing.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this newest development? What do you think Maynilad would say when it comes to explaining the recent water supply interruption? Was your household or your business negatively affected by the water supply interruption?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Las Piñas City’s vaccination count surpasses 1.2 million, over 530,000 fully vaccinated

The City Government of Las Piñas announced that their official COVID-19 vaccination count has surpassed 1,200,000 and over 530,000 of that were counted as fully vaccinated (meaning getting injected with 2 doses of most COVID-19 vaccines or getting injected with the single-dose Janssen vaccine). The statistics are accurate as of January 22, 2022.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the official update that the City Government released online…

The official statistics.

As seen above, the total number of patients who got fully vaccinated was at 532,786. It should be noted that getting fully vaccinated as well as getting boosted are crucial in relation to the Omicron variant’s effects on the Philippines. More on the statistics, the first dose count of 557,468 is 124.7% of the target population (70%) while the second dose account is 119.2% of the target population.

Meanwhile, the official booster dose count of Las Piñas City was recorded at 114,799. For the newcomers reading this, only the fully vaccinated are eligible to avail of the booster shot (AKA 3rd shot). 114,799 out of 532,786 is equivalent to 21.5%. There’s still a long way to go before the booster dose count of the city reaches the 500,000 mark. 

For all the unvaccinated people reading this, any Las Piñas resident who has yet to get registered for the free COVID-19 vaccines can learn the ways (4 methods) by clicking here. Anyone who is ready and willing to register online can click bit.ly/LasPiñasVaccination

Meanwhile, the City Government is already handling the online registration process for COVID-19 vaccination for local minors (aged 12 to 17) which can be done at http://laspinascityonline.laspinascity.gov.ph/eCVRS/

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a resident of Las Piñas City, what is your reaction to this recent development? Do you think the city’s vaccination count could reach 2,000,000 within the year? Are the fully vaccinated members of your local community making efforts to get their booster shots? Do you hope that the City Government will receive more doses of the Sputnik vaccines as research showed they have strong resistance against the Omicron variant?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Almost 60 million Filipinos fully vaccinated

This past weekend, the national government announced that almost sixty million Filipinos nationwide have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, according to a report published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA). To be more precise, the official count was at 57 million.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the PNA article. Some parts in boldface…

The Philippines has administered 122,889,494 doses of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines nationwide as of Saturday, with 57,095,695 Filipinos now with complete shots and better protected against the virus.

Data from the National Covid-19 vaccination dashboard showed 59,716,484 individuals have received at least the first dose of the primary series while 6,077,315 got their booster or additional doses.

The government recently launched the “Resbakuna sa Botika” program in partnership with private pharmaceutical stores and clinics to encourage more fully vaccinated Filipinos to avail of booster shots.

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief of the National Task Force Against Covid-19, said “self-management and social responsibility” would greatly contribute to the country’s response to the global health crisis.

“Basically, it is not sustainable that only the national government will take care of everything. I believe the private sector, the LGUs (local government units), and also the different parts of our society want to have responsibility. And that’s the way forward to our Covid-19 pandemic response,” Galvez said in an interview at a booster vaccination event in Makati City on Friday.

Galvez said there should a policy shift from having a government-centered approach to giving pre-access to those who are willing to assist in the national vaccination program.

On face value, having 57 million fully vaccinated Filipinos nationwide sounds like good news but in reality it remains to be seen if the Omicron variant could be resisted. 

More on the Omicron variant, it is crucial for the Philippines to acquire as many new doses of Sputnik vaccines from Gamaleya to really immunize and boost more Filipinos as soon as possible. Already there were studies conducted showing that Sputnik V and Sputnik Light resulted in strong resistance against the Omicron variant (for references, click here, here and here). Historically, Muntinlupa City was one of the first cities of the Philippines to receive a batch of Sputnik V vaccines.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Does the news about our nation having almost sixty million fully vaccinated Filipinos sound encouraging to you? Are there still lots of unvaccinated people there in your local community? If you are managing a business, have you checked if your employees got fully vaccinated or even boosted? Are you still worried about the Omicron variant? If you have been fully vaccinated, when did you get your 2nd dose and when do you plan to get yourself boosted?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

A Look Back at Spider-Man 2099 #5 (1993)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the future of 2099 through the Spider-Man 2099 comic book series of the 1990s.

Last time around, Miguel O’Hara/Spider-Man found himself in a very tricky situation as he found himself in confrontation with the Specialist while making sure that Kasey Nash (the lady who is involved with Miguel’s brother Gabriel) is safe. It should be noted that at this particular point of time, Spider-Man is still adjusting to his special abilities and he also has deal with matters over his work at Alchemax in his civilian form.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Spider-Man 2099 #5, published by Marvel Comics in 1993 with a story written by Peter David and drawn by Rick Leonardi.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with a weakened Spider-Man who mask is being held by the sword-wielding Specialist. As soon as the Specialist realized that the mask can’t be pulled off easily, Spider-Man scratches his body with talons and gained some distance away from him enabling him to wear his mask properly.

Meanwhile inside the facility of Alchemax, Tyler Stone watches the conflict between Spider-Man the Specialist recorded live by cameras. He orders his assistant to interrupt the scheduled programming of Private Eye and direct the live feed of the fight to the entire city. Stone orders him to alert Private Eye’s personnel.

Stone specifically wants Private Eye’s armed members to converge at the fight of Spider-Man and the Specialist, but states that no apprehension will be done. Stone has something in mind for Spider-Man…

Quality

The battle between Spider-Man 2099 and the Specialist was viewed by Alchemax.

What started in issue #4, this comic book expanded greatly without letting the narrative turning dull. The fight between Spider-Man and the Specialist pretty much dominates the majority of the story, and yet Peter David successfully told stories about Kasey Nash and Gabriel O’Hara while giving readers an inside look at Alchemax and its control on society. In addition, the futuristic Stark-Fujikawa corporation was given its own spotlight in the story complete with their own connection with the Specialist.

As the universe of 2099 was further emphasized, Spider-Man got developed further as an action performer. The more Miguel used his special abilities, the more he becomes proficient not only with fighting but also with defensive moves aided by enhanced reflexes. It was also here where Spider-Man gets to use his organic web a lot more which really challenged his opponent from Stark-Fujikawa.

More the narrative, I like the way Peter David raised the stakes and intrigue all throughout. Not only will you get to see Kasey Nash, Alchemax and Stark-Fujikawa perceive the battle, there is also a short and yet intriguing scene of Gabriel O’Hara with a certain lady who would later become a crucial part of the Venom 2099 storyline (read my reviews of issues #35, #36 and #37). I should state that the battle between Spider-Man and the Specialist built up the tension for the impactful moment very near the end of the story, and that is something you must see.

Conclusion

Spider-Man reacts with his reflex and talons.

Spider-Man 2099 #5 (1993) another compelling and enjoyable read from the team of Peter David and Rick Leonardi. The stakes were really raised high in the story complete with giving the reader a greater view of the 2099 New York society under the control of Alchemax and Spider-Man himself is just a small part of it who happens to stand out among all the people because of his special abilities. Clearly, the series at this point moved swiftly from the superhero origin stage into the dangerous society of the far future.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Spider-Man 2099 #5 (1993) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $60 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $180.

Overall, Spider-Man 2099 #5 (1993) is recommended.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

Woman dies in Parañaque fire

Last year, there was an 87-year-old woman and as well as a 1-year-old child who died in separate fire incidents in Parañaque City. This past weekend, another fire incident happened in the same city which resulted in the death of a 54-year-old woman, according to a news report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Inquirer news report. Some parts in bold face…

A 54 year old woman died in a fire that broke out in a residential area in Parañaque, said the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) on Sunday.

The BFP in its report identified the victim as a certain Evelynn Gillo Chiong.

According to the BFP, the victim’s house in Multinational Village Barangay Moonwalk, Parañaque City was the only one that burned in the incident, which was declared an alert level one fire at around 10:54 p.m. on Saturday.

The fire lasted for more than half an hour before it was declared extinguished at 11:29 p.m.

The cause of the fire, meanwhile, is still being investigated.

Apart from the reported death, no other injuries were reported but a total of three individuals were affected by the fire.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think could have been the main cause of the reported fire? Is your local community constantly working to ensure the prevention of fire incidents? 

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Muntinlupa City apprehends quarantine violators, strengthens vaccination drive amid rise in COVID-19 cases

Amid the sharp increase in new COVID-19 cases, members of the Muntinlupa City Police Station (MCPS) has apprehended more than 900 individuals this month for violating city ordinances and quarantine rules, while the City Health Office (CHO) strengthens the local vaccination efforts.

MCPS acting chief-of-police PCOL Angel Garcillano reported that 978 city residents were apprehended violating curfew hours, mandatory wearing of face mask and other city ordinances from January 1-24.

Of the total, 892 were apprehended for not wearing face masks while 54 violated the curfew.

Under City Ordinance No. 2020-109, every person in Muntinlupa is required to wear face masks at all times whenever outside of their residence, at the workplace, when entering government buildings and offices, and in public places.

Penalties for offenders include P300 for first offense, P500 for second offense, and P1,000 for third and subsequent offenses.

For violators who are minors, a stern warning will be given for the first offense, withdrawal of scholarship grant from the local government or P300 for non-grantee for second offense, and P500 for third and subsequent offenses. The penalty fee for minors will be charged against their parents or guardians.

Muntinlupa PNP has also installed COMELEC checkpoints and augmented its monitoring for the “No Vaccination Card/ID, No Ride” policy of the Department of Transportation.

Mayor Jaime Fresnedi continues to urge city residents to strictly follow the minimum public health standards and get vaccinated amid the increasing COVID-19 cases in the city.

Muntinlupa CHO has recorded all time high figures last January 23 with 4,684 active cases and daily new confirmed cases at 467.

CHO acting chief Dr. Juancho Bunyi said the city has strengthened the PDITR + V strategy (Prevention, Detection, Isolation, Treatment, Recovery plus Vaccination) to combat the further spread of the virus.

The City Health Office has also launched the “Rolling Bakuna” to bring the vaccination services closer to the communities. From January 3 – 21, Muntinlupa CHO has inoculated 1,687 individuals for their first and booster dose in different barangays.

The Rolling Bakuna is set to serve the following communities and organizations in the coming days: Morning Breeze Alabang (January 25, 240 slots – Booster), Elsie Gaches Alabang (January 26, 300 slots – Booster), Posadas Sucat (January 27, 100 slots – Booster), and PNP Headquarters (January 28, 500 slots – Booster).

As of January 21, at least 461,766 individuals in Muntinlupa have received their first dose, translating to 120.56% of the target population. While, 395,435 in the city are fully vaccinated which is 103.24% of the target.

Of the total vaccinated individuals, 17,521 were inoculated for first dose and 10,659 for second dose in coordination with the private companies.

City residents may register online through the city’s COVID-19 vaccination registration system via www.vaccine.muntinlupacity.gov.ph/muncovac.

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The above information was sourced from an official press release. Some parts were changed for this website.

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  HavenorFantasy@twitter.com as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

Sony is clearly behind as technology giants move on with their respective ecosystems

As I am writing this post, the shockwaves caused by the Xbox-Activision-Blizzard deal are still being felt. As many Xbox-haters and PlayStation fanboys online could not help but become uneasy and restless because of the deal’s effects on them, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer had officially talked with Sony’s top executives and described what happened via his Twitter account.

From Phil Spencer himself.

Take note of Spencer’s words “existing agreements” and “our desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation.” Existing agreements most likely refer to what Activision Blizzard made with Sony which I believe are years-long deals on games with regards to platform releases, marketing, post-release downloadable content, etc. Of course, such agreements can last long but NOT FOREVER. The business benefit for PlayStation from Activision Blizzard will someday come to an end. 

As for Microsoft’s desire for keeping Call of Duty on PlayStation, that clearly means that the corporation of Xbox is technically in-charge of not just the COD franchise but on the decision making, marketing and releasing its games on specific platforms. Sony and its PlayStation team are not in the driver’s seat here anymore. Whatever deals Activision signed with PlayStation before the acquisition will expire and they certainly will not be renewed once Microsoft and its Xbox team takes over. In due time, future COD games as well as other upcoming games and new intellectual properties of Activision Blizzard will become Xbox-exclusive in accordance to what Spencer declared before

We have games that exist on other platforms, and we’re going to support those games on the platforms they’re on. There are communities of players. We love those communities and will continue to invest in them. And even in the future, there might be things that have either contractual things, or legacy on different platforms, that we’ll go do. But if you’re an Xbox customer, the thing I want you to know is this is about delivering great exclusive games for you that ship on platforms where Game Pass exists, and that’s our goal, that’s why we are doing this,

This brings me to my next point – Sony as a global business entity is way behind Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon when it comes to establishing ecosystems that result tremendous business growth and reaching billions of customers worldwide respectively. The decades-old console-focused approach by Sony with PlayStation was indeed successful but not great enough to help it grow big time. Not even their Hollywood business nor Spider-Man could lift them up greatly. The weird thing was that Sony in previous decades had established an old ecosystem before PlayStation began.

To put things in perspective, posted below is a long excerpt from a recent Nikkei Asia article. Some parts in boldface…

The 10% drop in Sony’s stock price this week following Microsoft’s announcement that it will buy game content developer Activision Blizzard shows the market has belatedly awakened to an existential flaw in Sony’s kingdom. It lacks an ecosystem.

In terrifying contrast, Microsoft is a formidable ecosystem whose component elements, such as devices, operating system, browser, search engine, applications, content, cloud memory, work hand in glove to suck in captive users and never let them go. The ecosystem effect is all too familiar to owners of PCs that run on the Windows OS, which maddeningly redirects users to Microsoft’s Edge browser and Bing search engine against their will.

It is no accident that five of the world’s seven largest companies by market capitalization — Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet/Google, Amazon and Meta/Facebook — are ecosystems. Every consumer decision to buy a device, be it a PC, smartphone, Kindle reader, or game console, entails a surrender to an interconnected ecosystem. Promiscuity among ecosystems is possible but, by design, not easy. The ecosystems are at war and want to make you their captive.

Ironically, Sony was early to recognize the strategic significance of the ecosystem effect. Its decision to acquire CBS Records and Columbia Pictures in the late 1980s was inspired by the notion that controlling entertainment content could somehow push device sales, such as Betamax VCRs and Sony Walkman.

What Sony overlooked was that it would be self-defeating to make its controlled content exclusively available on Sony devices. Very few consumers would buy a Walkman just because it was the only way to listen to Michael Jackson. And Sony’s refusal to license Michael Jackson to non-Sony device users would perversely shut down third-party royalty revenue from the controlled content. Sony saw, but misunderstood and misapplied, the ecosystem effect between devices and content.

Sony’s next, more costly, wrong turn was its failure to anticipate and keep up with the morphing of portable audio devices like the Walkman launched in 1979 and iPod in 2001 into the iPhone debuted in 2007. The iPhone integrated, in a single handheld device, all of the functions formerly provided by the multiple discrete products in Sony’s consumer electronics lineup: phone, TV, camera, video and audio player and recorder, clock, calculator, and so on.

Sony’s stock price plunged from 30,000 yen ($260) per share in 2000 to 1,668 yen in 2009. Sony and the entire Japanese consumer electronics industry are still in disarray from the iPhone paradigm shift.

Unlike Sony, Apple founder Steve Jobs was a master at creating and orchestrating an ecosystem. In particular, he understood when to link content exclusively to a device and, just as important, when not to. Even now, Apple’s iOS is available only on Apple devices, unlike Microsoft’s device-agnostic Windows OS.
Initially, Apple’s iTunes music store platform was available only on Apple’s own devices. Then, in October 2003, “the day that hell froze over,” Jobs made the strategic decision to make iTunes compatible with and freely downloadable by non-Apple devices.

The result was not only to massively increase the audience and revenues of the iTunes platform. Non-Apple device users discovered how great iTunes was and that it worked even better on an iPod, leading to a surge in new iPod owners conveniently prepped for the coming transfiguration of the iPod into the iPhone.

The same interplay between devices and content is at the center of intense competition in the $180 billion global PC gaming industry. Dedicated gamers have a choice among three game-specific consoles — Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Switch.

The choice of device, in turn, entails a menu of device-specific exclusive content. Xbox and PlayStation each offer about 2,000 titles, but the bestselling 200-300 games for each tend to be exclusive to one or the other. A gamer’s choice of console implies a decision about preferred content.

But the relationship between game devices and content is evolving rapidly, tracking changes elsewhere in the internet universe. Games today can be played on any device, PCs and smartphones, not just a dedicated game console.

Gaming is now mobile. Game content is increasingly being streamed, just like Netflix and Amazon Prime. You can play games on YouTube. And an Xbox can be used as a PC to surf the Internet and do your homework.

The immediate threat to Sony posed by Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is that Microsoft will make the content it is acquiring — global blockbusters like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft — exclusive to Xbox users and invite defections from PlayStation users who want to keep playing their favorite games.

But this is just one element of the multifaceted ecosystem effects Microsoft can deploy to squeeze Sony. Sony should be nervous, for example, that it has no cloud or streaming capability of its own and relies on Microsoft’s own Azure platform to deliver streaming content to Sony users.

Sony’s game and network services segment now accounts for 30% of its revenues. It is hard to see how Sony can compete in the long-term in a narrow game-specific segment without credibly competing with the likes of Microsoft, Alphabet/Google and Amazon across the board in all segments of the device-content spectrum.

From a financial point of view, Sony is not only behind the tech giants with ecosystems. Sony simply does not have the major financial muscle needed to pull off massive acquisitions of game publishers (massive meaning more than $5 billion per each acquisition) that each have lots of game developers, intellectual properties and technologies. The Japanese giant does have a business ecosystem but it’s too small and too narrow compared to its Western competitors. This also means Sony reaches much less customers worldwide.

In a possible response to Xbox-Activision-Blizzard deal, Sony can try to acquire its fellow Japanese gaming entities like Capcom, SEGA or Square Enix and integrate the entity(s) into PlayStation, but that will require not just a whole bunch of money but also willingness to not just make big offers the other party cannot turn down, but also the willingness to overcome all the legal obstacles, solve all the complications, absorb all the employees, fund future projects already in development, etc. If the PlayStation team is willing on building up its very own exclusive properties, they could expand the work forces as well as the projects of their very own game studios.

The Xbox-Activision-Blizzard deal is very hard to match not just because of the financial value and organizational weights involved, but also because the said deal covers consoles, Windows PC, mobile devices, cloud gaming, browser gaming and much more. The PlayStation ecosystem is still console-focused and so far team PlayStation released only a few of its games on PC. Is Sony even working to improve PlayStation Now? Are the PlayStation executives realizing that their 3rd party marketing deals won’t lift up their corporation and consumer base anymore? Has it occurred to the PlayStation executives that future games of the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro The Dragon franchises (both of which are permanently identified with Sony’s gaming brand due to exclusive games released on the first PlayStation console) will be released only on Xbox platforms?

As mentioned in the Nikkei Asia article above, business ecosystems are not perfect and they have their flaws that affect customers in bad ways. As such, the ecosystem powers and organizers should do their work to be more user-friendly and be more consumer-oriented. Still, the ecosystem approach to business has proven to be very effective with regards to reaching the widest number of consumers worldwide as well as driving business growth to new heights, not to mention generating economic benefits for business partners involved (example: credit card companies whose users buy on Amazon, Xbox network, Google, etc.) No amount of sales of Final Fantasy games and Street Fighter games exclusive to PlayStation consoles will ever match that. 

As for the console fanboys who still hate Xbox, they should learn to stop living with fantasy and wake up to reality. Time to grow up.

In ending this piece, posted below are videos related to Xbox and the Activision Blizzard deal…

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

COVID-19 Crisis: RDIF and Gamaleya point to Italy study confirming Sputnik V vaccine provides strong protection against Omicron variant

With the whole world continues to struggle hard with COVID-19 problems as well as the highly infectious Omicron variant, a recent study conducted in Italy by the Spallanzani Institute confirmed what was determined by other studies before – Sputnik V provides strong protection against the Omicron variant. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Gamaleya highlighted the newest study at the Sputnik Vaccine website very recently as well as other notable updates and detailed references.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the press release at SputnikVaccine.com. Some parts in boldface…

The Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology (Gamaleya Center) and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, investor in Sputnik V and Sputnik Light coronavirus vaccines), today announced a unique independent comparative study conducted at the National Institute for Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani (Italy) by a joint team of researchers of the Institute and the Gamaleya Center showing that 2 doses of Sputnik V provide more than 2 times higher geometric mean titers (GMT) of virus neutralizing antibodies to the Omicron variant of COVID than 2 doses of Pfizer vaccine (2.1 times higher in total and 2.6 times higher 3 months after vaccination).

An article by a team of 12 Italian and 9 Russian scientists led by Francesco Vaia, Director of the Spallanzani Institute and Alexander Gintsburg, Director of the Gamaleya Center, has been published in medRxiv (the preprint server for health sciences) and is available at:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.01.15.22269335v1 

The study was conducted in Spallanzani Institute in the equal laboratory conditions at the Italian Spallanzani Institute on comparable groups of sera from individuals vaccinated with Sputnik V and Pfizer, with no statistically significant difference in neutralizing activity against Wuhan variant.The advantages of Sputnik V are the use of native S glycoprotein (spike protein without proline-stabilization and other modifications) and the use of a heterologous prime-boost vaccination regimen. The Pfizer vaccine utilizes the spike protein in a proline-stabilized form in contrast to Sputnik V. Proline-stabilization and other modifications may move an immune response predominantly to the actively mutating receptor-binding domain (RBD) of spike protein. In the Omicron variant, a substantial number of mutations were registered precisely in RBD, which is why such a significant drop in neutralizing activity against this variant may be observed in the sera of Pfizer-vaccinated.

Boosting with Sputnik Light as part of the “mix & match” approach may help address the lower efficacy of mRNA vaccines against Omicron as well as the documented, quickly waning, efficacy of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19. Partnerships between adenoviral and mRNA vaccines could provide for stronger protection against Omicron and other variants.

Based on the data collected by the Spallanzani Institute and results of previous studies, heterologous (“mix & match”) boosting with Sputnik Light is the best solution to increase other vaccines’ efficacy and extend the booster protection period as optimal adenoviral platform configuration provides better protection against Omicron and other mutations:

a. Sputnik Light as a booster significantly increases virus neutralizing activity against Omicron, which is comparable to titers observed after Sputnik V against wild-type virus, associated with high levels of protection. The study results were summarized in an article available at:

www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.12.17.21267976v1

b. Sputnik Light has already shown strong results as a booster in “mix & match” trials in Argentina. A combination of Sputnik Light with vaccines produced by AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Moderna and Cansino, conducted in 5 provinces (City and Province of Buenos Aires, as well as Córdoba, La Rioja and San Luis) has demonstrated that Sputnik Light induces stronger antibody and T-cell response as compared to a homologous regimen (two shots of the same vaccine). Each “vaccine cocktail” combination with Sputnik Light provided higher antibody titer on the 14th day after administering a second dose when compared to original homologous (same vaccine as first and second dose) regimens of each of the vaccines.

c. As duration of vaccine protection is key to avoid frequent boosting, authors of another study in Argentina have noted that protection against coronavirus remains stable following vaccination with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine as a consequence of antibody maturation, resulting in improved potency of antibodies to viral escape mutations:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.08.22.21262186v1

d. The study conducted by a number of highly respected institutes in the US (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard University, Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and University of North Carolina) demonstrated that boosting Pfizer vaсcine with Ad26 vector produces optimal durable protection against Omicron with 4 times higher increase in Omicron-specific T-cells and 2.4 times in neutralizing antibody titers vs Pfizer booster. Sputnik Light is based on Ad26 vector and is the universal booster for other vaccines vs all mutations:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.12.02.21267198v2

e. US study on 168 mln people showed that one-shot COVID vaccine based on Ad26 is superior against infections and hospitalizations to quickly waning two-shot mRNA vaccines. In the 6th month after vaccination, Pfizer protection against hospitalization waned 4 times, while there was no evidence of waning protection against hospitalization for Ad26 vector:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.01.05.22268648v1

f. Another study conducted on almost 500,000 health care workers in South Africa demonstrated 85% efficacy of Ad26 booster against hospitalization caused by Omicron variant:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.12.28.21268436v1.full-text

Partnership among vaccine manufacturers through heterologous (“mix & match”) boosting by other vaccines is needed to address the quickly waning efficacy of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19, which was documented in multiple studies:

a. The study in US among 65+ years old population demonstrated the decrease in mRNA vaccine effectiveness against Delta accelerated after month 4, reaching a low of approximately 20% in months 5 through 7:

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2787183

b. According to Swedish data, the Pfizer vaccine’s efficacy against Delta strain is falling to below 30% after 6 months:

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3949410

c. The UK Health Security Agency said those who had received three doses of Pfizer’s vaccine saw their protection against symptomatic illness caused by Omicron variant drop to 45% within 10 weeks:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/investigation-of-sars-cov-2-variants-technical-briefings

Alexander Gintsburg, Director of the National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, said:

“The joint study by the Gamaleya Center and Spallanzani Institute confirmed the results obtained in our separate study published in December 2021. The hard scientific data proves Sputnik V has higher virus neutralizing activity against Omicron as compared to other vaccines and will play a major role in the global fight against this new contagious variant.”

Denis Logunov, Deputy Director of the National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, noted:

“The Spallanzani Institute is one of the leading European research centers and our joint study provided a unique opportunity for independent analysis of different vaccine platforms against Omicron. Adenoviral vector platform in the core of Sputnik V and Sputnik Light vaccines once again proved to be the best solution in creating strong and durable immunity against COVID and its new variants.”

That was a huge load of information above. While the excerpt is long, I urge you all to read still read the full press release online which itself has some visual presentation of statistics and studies. For insight, read my previous Sputnik-Omicron article. As for my native Philippines, I hope that the government officials have been paying close attention to these press releases and other global studies related to Sputnik vaccines. I also hope the national authorities will acquire a lot more Sputnik vaccines to really protect Filipinos from the Omicron variant which itself caused the deaths of two people here.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you have been vaccinated with a Sputnik V vaccine or the one-shot Sputnik Light vaccine, does this latest, highly detailed press release make you confident with what you have been injected with? If you have been vaccinated with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, are you convinced that the mRNA technology is flawed with regards to providing you protection against the coronvirus and its variants? 

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/