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Here are the top stories of The Manila Times on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022.

READ: ABS, TV5 'pause' P2.1B agreement

ABS-CBN Corp. and TV5 Network Inc. agreed to "pause" final preparations in their joint-venture deal to address the issues raised by lawmakers and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). The Lopez-owned media company is set to acquire a 35 percent minority stake in the Manuel Pangilinan-led broadcaster worth P2.16 billion. "This pause will give the space for both media organizations to respond to the issues and accommodate any relevant changes to the terms," a statement released by TV5 on Wednesday said. The deal between the two companies calls for an increase of ABS-CBN's stake to nearly 50 percent by 2030 through the signing of a "convertible note agreement." It is also expected to sell nearly 39 percent of its cable subsidiary, SkyCable to Cignal Cable, the cable affiliate of pay-TV provider Cignal TV, for P2.465 million. Both TV5 and Cignal TV are owned by Mediaquest Holdings Inc., the media investment arm of the PLDT group through its Beneficial Trust Fund. The deal was expected to close before the end of August.

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READ: MJC halts horse racing operations

THE Manila Jockey Club Inc. (MJC), the country's premier horse racing club, announced on Wednesday that it will no longer hold horse races after 155 years. The MJC, one of Asia's oldest horse racing clubs, was founded in 1867, but it was only in 1937 that it established itself as a business entity. The company's board of directors decided not to pursue a request for its parliamentary franchise, which was set to expire on Oct. 23, 2022. It reserved the right to resurrect the historical company in the future by applying for a new franchise, either in its own name or through a new wholly-owned subsidiary. The MJC's other revenue sources come from real estate holdings in Manila and Carmona, Cavite.

READ: FDA report bares 2,573 jab-related deaths

DATA from the Philippines' Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed that there were 2,573 deaths related to Covid-19 vaccination from March 2021 to July 2022, with 12 of the fatalities children 5 to 11 years old. In "Reports of Suspected Adverse Reaction to Covid-19 Vaccines (March 10, 2021 to July 25, 2022)," a copy of which was obtained by The Manila Times, the FDA said that the jab did not necessarily cause the deaths. The same FDA document was cited by Dr. Erwin Erfe, director of the Forensics Division of the Public Attorney's Office (PAO) when he testified in Tuesday's resumption of trial on the petition against mass vaccination for minors ages 5 to 11 before Judge Maria Cherell de Castro-Sansaet of the Quezon City-Regional Trial Court's Branch 222. Erfe said that based on the figures on vaccine-related deaths, 12 were 5 to 11 years old, 1,470 were 60 years old and above, 702 were 40 to 59; 332 were 18 to 39; 39 were 12 to 17; and the remaining 18 were unclassified. He said the FDA report would justify the cessation of the "experimental" Covid-19 vaccination.

READ: Webb telescope captures stunning images of Jupiter

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has captured stunning images of the planet Jupiter showing two tiny moons, faint rings and auroras at the northern and southern poles. Planetary astronomer Imke de Pater of the University of California, Berkeley headed the observations of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, with Thierry Fouchet of the Paris Observatory.The composite images were taken with the observatory's Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) and were artificially colored because infrared light is not visible to the human eye.

READ: Making plastic producers pay

Part 2 of a 3-part series by The Manila Times on plastics talks about placing responsibility for the management of plastic waste — specifically, waste from plastic packaging — on the businesses that create it.

Topping Business

READ: Peso drops to 56.11 vs US dollar

THE Philippine peso continued to fall against the United States dollar, closing at P56.11 on Wednesday. Even after the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) raised its key policy rate by 0.50 to 3.75 on Aug. 18, 2022, the Philippine peso-US dollar exchange rate kept declining. The peso fell for the eighth straight trading day since August 11, when it closed at P55.30: $1. The Philippine peso is expected to continue losing value versus the US dollar this week since market participants expect US inflation to stay high. Fitch Solutions predicts that the BSP will "remain hawkish" and raise rates further to raise the policy rate from 3.75 percent to 4.5 percent by the end of the year.

In Sports,

READ: Obiena wins gold medal in Germany

FILIPINO Olympian Ernest John "EJ" Obiena cleared 5.81 meters to win the men's pole vault gold medal at the Internationales Stabhochsprung-Meeting in Germany on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila). Obiena outperformed 10 other competitors, including Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Chris Nilsen of the United States, to jumpstart a seven-event stretch on a winning note. Nilsen bagged the silver after clearing the 5.71-meter bar. Kurtis Marschall of Australia also jumped 5.71 meters but settled for the bronze after the count back. With his golden performance, Obiena also reached the qualifying standard for the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

READ: Gilas Pilipinas takes on Lebanese team

GILAS Pilipinas brings renewed confidence ahead of its fourth window match against powerhouse Lebanon in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifier on Thursday (Friday, 2 a.m. in Manila). New players were added in the Philippine team for the fourth window, including NBA star Jordan Clarkson and 7-foot-3 center Kai Sotto from NBL-Australia team Adelaide 36ers, while a few more star players from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) shore up the much-improved team of head coach Chot Reyes. Clarkson and Sotto are assured of spots in the 13-man pool and likely to be named to the final 12 on the eve of the Filipinos' match against the Lebanese.

READ: Serena bares all on Meghan's podcast

Serena Williams and Meghan recount challenges they've experienced as working mothers on the Duchess of Sussex's first podcast, including stories of having to work soon after scary incidents involving their children. Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion who said recently "the countdown has begun" to her retirement, recounted on Meghan's "Archetypes" Spotify podcast Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) that she played a match at the 2018 French Open after a nearly sleepless night after her daughter, Olympia, broke her wrist. The tennis great and Meghan, who are friends, spoke at length on Tuesday's episode about the challenges of balancing high profile careers in the public eye and motherhood.

In today's editorial, the Times considers the DTI industrialization push a welcome development. Read the full version on the print and digital editions or listen to the Voice of the Times. Antonio Contreras, Yen Makabenta and Danton Remoto are the featured columnists on the front page. Contreras talks about the virtue of criticizing the President's men and women; Makabenta on what the nation must first have to prosper; and Remoto on the portrait of the Filipino woman as a smart outsider.

For more news and information, get a copy of The Manila Times on print, subscribe to its digital edition or log on to www.manilatimes.net. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and Keep Up With The Times.

This is EJ Gomez reporting.