Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles03:07Massive crowd welcomes 2020 at Bangkok’s self-proclaimed Times Square of Asia01:43Passengers face long queues at Araneta Center Bus Terminal02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Jury of 7 men, 5 women selected for Harvey Weinstein rape trial Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Taal victims get help from Kalayaan town Loss to Ateneo ‘good lesson’ for San Beda ahead of NCAA, says Fernandez “I just want to focus on where I’m playing at right now,” Sta Ana, who is also suiting up for Che’Lu Bar and Grill in the PBA D-League, said in Filipino.The 20-year-old guard, who left UST due to personal reasons, averaged 11.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists in his lone UAAP season with the Tigers.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownIt didn’t take long before Sta. Ana found a new home at Letran in a reunion with his former high school coach Jeff Napa.“Me and my father were already talking with Letran officials. It was the only school we talked to,” Sta. Ana, who left UST due to personal reasons, said. Napa announced Sta. Ana’s addition to the Knights. Cloudy skies over Luzon due to amihan Bicol riders extend help to Taal evacuees Christopher Tolkien, son of Lord of the Rings author, dies aged 95 For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. LATEST STORIES MOST READ Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netAfter bidding farewell to University of Santo Tomas last month, Jordan Sta. Ana is keeping his focus on playing basketball and making himself better.On Saturday, Sta. Ana was back on the court as he led his team to the top of the 2018 Red Bull Reign Philippines 3×3 tournament.ADVERTISEMENT Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments
In commemoration of the International Day against Illicit Trafficking of Drugs and other Substances, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Grand Bassa detachment on 26th June 2014 destroyed over 200 kilograms of drugs, including other substances and medical substances on an open field in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.The officer in charge of DEA activities in Bassa, Maj. Joseph Tangedione said among the destroyed drugs included at least 135 grams of heroin, Italian white, cocaine and well as some counterfeit United States Dollar bank notes.DEA Tangedione said the acts that created the DEA gave it all right to monitor all illicit drugs including pharmaceutical drug because some pharmaceutical drugs were made of narcotic products and can be misused.“We have the power to arrest anyone who does not have the power to sell any pharmaceutical drug that contains narcotic,” he added.He disclosed that following several raids that they have carried out in Bassa, there are at least 26 drug cases pending at the court in Bassa.DEA Tangedione, “Most of the cases are still pending at the magisterial court along with some of the drugs still in the possession of the court as evidence.”Buchanan is one of the busiest port cities in Liberia where concessional companies including logging, mining and among other companies are based.But it appears like most of the cannabis/marijuana arrested was brought from other counties closed to Bassa.“As far as concern, we have not discovered any marijuana being cultivated in Bassa, nearly all the perpetrators we been arresting said they brought them in from Bong and Nimba Counties,” he inserted.The drug burning exercise was witnessed by the local officials of Bassa including all security apparatus as well as UNMIL and the City Mayor of Buchanan City Ret. Gen. Julia K. Bono.“The DEA had brought boost to our security in Buchanan today by burning these drugs today because the criminals used these substances to carried criminal activities around here,” she said.Meanwhile, she urged all parents and citizens to advise their children or relatives from using these substances.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Apart from the numerous award nominations it receives, winning an award from the Checago Bright Foundation, building of much needed lavatories in the Brewerville community, its feeding programs, and the opening of radio stations across Liberia, HottFM radio station has just added another reserve to its platter. They have teamed up with Deborah Atney’s Be100 Radio.Every Saturday on 107.9FM, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. (9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. GMT), legendary radio broadcaster and social entertainer, Charles Russell, hosts a show that connects Liberia with the rest of the world. His show is intended to bring Liberia to the limelight through Ms. Atney’s Be100 Radio platform, which was shaped to “open the eyes and ears of African music.”Last week, Russell hosted Gbema and Afro Pop sensation K-Zee, who talked about his recent release, “I’m in Love”, and his “Back to School” jam at Royal Plus. K-Zee revealed that his recent single was crafted based on his feelings toward his fans. “I love my fans so much, but sometimes there are restraints that cause me not to be able to reach out to all of them. I feel very deeply for those who buy my music, come to watch me perform and show me support always.”Meanwhile, HottFM, which has been in existence for more than seven years, has dedicated itself to playing good music, promoting Liberian entertainment and providing assistance and care to the Liberian populace. During the Ebola outbreak, many lives were saved from the strong awareness and lifesaving jingles produced by HottFM, not to mention their collaboration with UNICEF during that time, which mustered up the Ebola project and song, “Ebola is Real”.Known as “The People’s Station”, their dedication to that name and popular slogan paid off recently when they received the “Community Service Award” from the Checago Bright Foundation during its award and fundraising ceremony in May this year.Checago Bright – Sawo is the founder and CEO of Checago Bright Foundation (CBF), a non-profit organization that aims to strengthen disadvantaged Liberians through capacity building and community development programs in Liberia. With a population of 4.9 million Liberians, 3.2 million of them without adequate sanitation, and 80 percent of the population without access to safe drinking water, many in Liberia seek help from organizations and companies such as HottFM and CBF.Bernard Benson, commonly known as DJ Blue, backed by a strong team that includes hip-hop artist and business partner Cypha D King, Hazem Harb (Double H) and a few others, have gone to great lengths in making sure that the needs of the public, through his radio platform, are being met. Apart from theconstruction of latrines, community outreach programs, feeding programs, funding of school fees and such, HottFM is a big supporter of Liberian music and entertainment promotions. They have made a huge difference in the industry.A staff of more than 300 employees working at more than three radio stations spread across the country, HottFM has also created futures for many young Liberians that allow them to provide for themselves and their families.Known for its Blue Links Show, its awareness jingles, UNICEF dramas, public awareness programs, providing a helping hand and so on, CBL thought it necessary to award the team (HottFM) with an award of appreciation and recognition for their collective hard work.According to DJ Blue, who was ecstatic about the win, he congratulated his team and all of those who voted for his victory. “We deserve this,” he stated.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
…says blocked canal causing water woesRice farmers who cultivate in the Number 52-74 villages on the Corentyne, Berbice, are in dire need of water to begin the next crop. At present, the Seaforth Canal is covered with vegetation blocking the smooth flow of irrigation water making it almost impossible for them to start preparation and cultivation.The blocked Seaforth Canal stopping the flow of water to the cultivation areaAccording to some of the farmers, the canal has not been cleaned since February and now it cannot be cleared manually. Of the 14,500 acres of land cultivated last crop, only 4000 acres has some amount of preparation for the next crop.Guyana Times visited the canal situated several miles inland from the residential area. A lush green mat of grass is covering to entire canal. According to Ramish Ramdat, who has a 200-acre plot at Number 70 Village, he has been able to plow and chip one hundred acres but needs water to flood the field.“I need water right now. The field is being left exposed and it will cost me having to do additional work. This problem is because of the blockage of the Seaforth Canal and we cannot access water.”Ramdat said he and other farmers met with the regional authorities and were promised that an excavator would have been sent to assist them on Monday. When this publication visited on Tuesday, no excavator was in the area and the farmers were hoping for more than the few hours of rainfall.Another farmer, Chandredat Narinedat, who has 50 acres at Number 71 Village, said he has started to prepare for the next crop but is left at a standstill because of the lack of water to flood the fields. Like many other farmers who are being affected, Narinedat is contemplating whether to continue with the crop.“We say abee gon wait lil mo but if abee wait lil bit mo, abee nah go get fuh cut rice in dry weather,” he explained.The farmers argue that if they cannot commence the crop now then they will be forced in the rainy season and that will be counterproductive.According to Narinedat, he stands to lose about $3 million if he is forced to harvest during the next rainy season.He told Guyana Times that they are about to make a decision collectively as rice farmers. “Abee ah think about call off crop because abe na get no saying from no body.”Meanwhile, President of the 52/74 Water Users Association, Ahmad Rajab says farmers have been pouring into the Association’s office on a daily basis seeking his help.He said the contract to clean the Seaforth canal is normally awarded in February, however, so far this year it had not been cleaned.“I made a request about three times for them to clean the canal. We are ready to start the pump but if we start the pump the water is going to overflow and go into the savannah. We have a lot of water available but it can’t pass.”He further explained that with the amount of vegetation in the canal, it cannot be cleaned the way it is normally cleaned; manually. “We need a machine now to clean this and this is holding back the farmers a lot.”The Water Users Association head said two thirds of the land is still to be repaired for the next crop as a result of the lack of water.The crop should have commenced in mid-May and almost one month later the farmers are still uncertain whether they will be able to plant.Rajab said as far as he is aware, a contract to clean the canal was awarded to someone, but that person has done nothing.Those contracts are nor normally for maintenance and are one-year contracts. Hence, it should have been cleaned in February and maintained since.Rajab says if the Regional Administration know that they will not be able to assist then the administration should advise farmers not to go into the crop.“Going into the crop will cost millions of dollars and farmers are going to suffer,” Rajab told Guyana Times. (Andrew Carmichael)
ECD/EBD bypass road…surveyors submit new designEven in its civil works stage, the bypass road linking the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) to the East Bank (EBD) is proving to be a much more enormous project than anticipated.This is according to Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson, while addressing the National Assembly’s Committee of Supply last week.The bypass road, which is being funded by the Indian Government, will provide an alternative route connecting the East Coast at Ogle to the East Bank at Diamond. Since the Indian government is funding the project, it is required that the contracts be awarded to companies from that country and as such, a 10-month design consultancy project was awarded to India-based RITES Limited.According to Patterson, the draft final design has been submitted by the surveyors and is currently being reviewed by the Ministry. He pointed out that the project is of a bigger scale than previously envisioned.“What was previously envisaged when the loan was taken was a single road linking house lot developments (but) what has been designed and is being reviewed at the moment is a dual carriageway, which is not just for linking house lots; it is actually an additional new entry way into the city. So it’s is new bypass road (design), so therefore it is vastly improved than what was initially perceived,” Patterson told the Committee as he successful sought additional funds.The Minister requested an additional $67.410 million to cover payments for consultancy services provided by the Indian firm as well as to carryout preparatory works on the route earmarked for the new bypass road. He explained that along the area identified for the new link road, there is a ‘swampy’ section and part of the monies sought will be injected into clearing that area.“The surveyors would have walked the entire length from the East Coast all the way the pass Diamond and Grove (on the East Bank) and then encountered a swampy section of about 30 acres of swamp land. So as we have the time now, we want to drain that so that by the time we start construction – hopefully very shortly – it will be drained and ready to have the road (works started)… The scope of the works is obviously enormous… (and) the more we can do upfront will make the project far easier when we do come to full implementation,” Patterson asserted.This Diamond-Ogle Bypass project will see some 26 kilometers of road constructed, linking two of the country’s main thoroughfare. This new road link will also be connected to key communities in Georgetown and along the East Bank of Demerara. These includes Diamond, Mocha, Eccles – all on the East Bank – and Aubrey Barker Road in Georgetown.Back in 2016, Finance Minister Winston Jordan signed a US$50 million loan with the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of India for the construction of link road. The Guyana government has indicated its intention of extending the bypass road from Diamond all the way to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) in Timehri.In an effort to reduce traffic congestion for commuters on the East Bank of Demerara, which leads to the country’s main point of entry – the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, the previous People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) regime was working on constructing an ‘East Coast to East Bank’ bypass road and sought funding from the Indian Government in 2015.Meanwhile, plans to extend the bypass road all the way to Timehri will come under a second phase of the project. Erskine had revealed that sometime this year, the Public Infrastructure Ministry is hoping to move ahead with the design consultancy process.
American Scott Sterling and Australia’s David Lutterus shot 6-under 66s and Peter Senior had a 68 Saturday to share a one-stroke lead going into the final round of the Jacob’s Creek Open. Senior birdied the 17th hole to pull into a three-way tie for the lead with his compatriot Lutterus and Sterling. The three were at 11-under 205. Conditions were challenging at Turtle Bay’s oceanside Palmer Course, with occasional showers and tradewinds that shook the players’ pony tails and nerves. Outback Pro-AmAndy Bean shot a 4-under 67 in cold and windy conditions for a share of the lead with Wayne Levi in the suspended second round of the Champions Tour’s Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am. Levi shot a 69, finishing in near darkness, to match Bean at 4-under 138 on the TPC Tampa Bay. Levi holed a pitching wedge shot from 118 yards for eagle on the par-4 10th – his first hole of the day. First-round leader David Eger (72) was a stroke back, and Tom Wargo (72) followed at 2 under. Indonesian OpenFrankie Minoza topped the leaderboard in the Indonesian Open before monsoon storms stopped play early for the third consecutive day. Trying to become the first Filipino to win a European tour event, Minoza was at 8 under with a hole to play in the third round, one stroke ahead of the tight pack led by Finland’s Mikko Ilonen and South Korea’s Suk Jong-yul. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Sterling had seven birdies and a bogey while Lutterus, a 21-year-old part-time bartender who has been a member at Kooyonga Golf Club for seven years, chipped in for an eagle on the par-4 sixth to help him overcome Friday’s round of 75 that forced him out of the lead. “I made a lot of putts today, that made a big difference,” Sterling said, adding he was not bothered by the 104-degree temperatures and high humidity Saturday. American Brad Ott was a stroke back and alone in fourth after a 70, while four golfers were another stroke back. There were more than 20 players within five shots of the lead. Poly High’s Peter Tomasulo sits 8-strokes back at 213. Australians Craig Parry and Brett Rumford, who led by a stroke going into Saturday’s third round, each shot 73 and were tied for ninth at 8-under, three strokes off the lead. Lutterus said he was happy to prove he wasn’t a one-round wonder after opening with a 64 on Thursday. SBS OpenPaula Creamer won the LPGA Tour’s season-opening SBS Open for her first victory since 2005, holding off Julieta Granada by a stroke. The 20-year-old Creamer closed with a 2-under 70 for a 9-under 207 total and earned $165,000 for her third LPGA Tour title. In 2005 as a rookie, she won two LPGA Tour titles and also took two tournaments in Japan.
WEATHER: Lower temperatures finally arrive Wednesday after a sweltering spell. By Andrew Glazer THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Coroners in four California counties said as many as 28 people may have died of heat-related causes during an eight-day siege of blistering weather that began to ebb Wednesday. “A healthy adult cannot carry enough water to safely make it across the desert,” Proo said. “I’ve been saying it for years, and I’ve proved it every time I go out on one of these calls.” During the heat wave, temperatures often soared past 110 degrees and fell only a few degrees at night. On Wednesday temperatures dropped as much as 25degrees in some parts of Southern California, the National Weather Service said. Many of those who died were seniors who either didn’t own air conditioners or didn’t turn them on. Maureen Symonds, programs director at the Senior Concerns senior center in the San Fernando Valley, said she has heard from seniors on fixed incomes who regularly choose between eating, turning on the air conditioner or taking expensive medication. “It’s pretty sad,” she said. “When you’re dealing with seniors, even when they get an A.C., they don’t turn it on because of the cost factor. They will sit and swelter.” Utility crews struggled Wednesday to restore electricity to tens of thousands of homes left without power after increased air conditioner use strained power grids. Southern California Edison on Wednesday reported outages affecting 17,896 customers primarily in Long Beach, Irvine, Corona, Ontario, Whittier and Norwalk – 9,692 of whom have been without power for more than a day. Meanwhile, nearly 6,800 Los Angeles customers were without service, Department of Water and Power spokeswoman Terry Schneider said. Power was restored to some 23,200 customers on Wednesday.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The Los Angeles County coroner’s office was investigating 16 possible heat-related deaths, the youngest victim a 26-year-old who was separated from his friends while dirt biking Saturday, said spokesman Craig Harvey. In the inland region, Deputy Coroner Henry Proo said seven deaths in typically hot Imperial County were considered heat-related. There were also four in San Bernardino County and one in Riverside County. Among the dead was Michael Visser, a dirt biker found in northern Los Angeles County. In Imperial County, authorities are blaming 116-degree temperatures for the deaths of an elderly woman found dead last week in her home that didn’t have air conditioning and a 58-year-old man discovered by friends in his trailer, which had no electricity or running water. Proo said authorities also discovered last week and Monday the bodies of illegal immigrants who died in the heat after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. One, a woman, was 37. The other, a man, was 27.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinals160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! YOU can’t even talk to people any more. Everyone is wired up to iPods and cell phones and Bluetooths and BlackBerrys. If you try saying “hi” to people at the gym, they look at you, as if slightly annoyed, pull out their earplugs, rearrange various wires and say, “What?” “I said, Hi.’” Then they look really annoyed, as if to say, “You made me do all that to say Hi?’” Then they plug back in their equipment and return to the Black Eyed Peas, like it’s the most important thing in the world. Sometimes they even sing along. There is nothing as hellish as the caterwauling of people listening to music on earphones; it’s like karaoke on crack. The late-night screams in a Turkish prison sound soothing compared to the bleating of some iPod geek on a Stairmaster, “my laaaady lumps …” Then there are the cell-phone exhibitionists. People who didn’t get enough attention from Mommy when they were children, who now make the rest of us listen to the intimate details of their lives at full volume. On a recent night at the gym (a national chain of health clubs, which will remain unnamed, though it rhymes with Rallys), all of the sudden came, “Gas money? You want gas money? Reggie, I told you I only had a quarter tank in my car! You must be out of your damn mind!” And it went downhill from there; more talk of “gas money” and what a “fool” and a “jackass” Reggie was. Within two minutes, 30 or 40 exercisers learned that in addition to being a blabbermouth, this woman is in a bad relationship, has car trouble, money trouble and that Reggie is the root of all evil. I wondered where Reggie was torturing his captive audience. Starbucks? A line at the grocery store? Night court? Cell phones are the cocaine of the new millennium. Just as cocaine turned parties into narcissistic paranoia fests during the 1980s, cell phones are doing the same thing today. In a culture obsessed with “being in the moment,” nobody is in the moment. Everyone is a million miles away in their own private cellular Idaho. If a UFO landed at a gym, and Liberace and Jimmy Hoffa emerged and sang a duet of “Stardust,” nobody would even notice. They’d all be too immersed in their own gibberish. Like cocaine, it’s all about the next fix. How many times have you heard, “Gotta go, got another call!” In other words, “Someone else is calling and they are more important than you.” As if attention spans aren’t short enough already, now text-messaging is all the rage. Recently, I was talking to someone on the phone and I could tell she was distracted. So I tried a little test. “I just captured a baby Sasquatch,” I said. “Right on,” came her reply. When someone says “Right on” today, it means “I am not listening to a damn thing you’re saying.” Then, she admitted she was getting a text message. So I hung up on her. The ultimate rudeness trifecta would be talking to someone on a cell phone, while sending a text message and instant-messaging someone on your computer at the same time. The transcript of it all would go something like this: Cell phone caller 1: “Hello? … Hello?” Text message: “Right on.” IM: “Totally.” Cell phone caller 2: “Right on.” Phil Perrier is a comedian and humor writer in Los Angeles. Write to him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Pressure was the top to bottom pitching Torre received from Rivera, starter Shawn Chacon and reliever Al Leiter, who faced just one batter, got an inning-ending double play and received credit for the victory. All this while trailing the series two games to one and overcoming a 2-0 deficit heading into the sixth inning. Pressure was Chacon, who spent most of his career pitching meaningless games in Coors Field before he was acquired from the Colorado Rockies at the end of July. Chacon was making his first post-season appearance and hadn’t started a game since July 28. To seemingly make matters worse, he had to wait a day when Game 4 was rained out Saturday afternoon. “I spoke to my mom on the phone and she said, ‘these things happen for a reason,’ ” Chacon said. “Guess she was right.” Chacon went 6 brilliant innings, retiring the first 10 batters he faced and keeping the Yankees close against an equally impressive John Lackey. Chacon allowed back-to-back RBI doubles by Chone Figgins and Orlando Cabrera in the sixth and was chased by a Bengie Molina in the seventh, but it wasn’t enough to put the Yankees away. This time, Rivera did what he usually does, retiring every batter he faced, including reigning MVP Vladimir Guerrero on a weak grounder to second, to preserve a 3-2 Yankees victory and force a fifth and deciding game tonight at Angel Stadium. “I trust him so much, because I know one thing above everything else,” said Torre, who added he would not hesitate to use Rivera tonight. “Whether it works or not, you know he’s going out there with the biggest heart in the world. He certainly doesn’t shy away from the pressure.” NEW YORK – Joe Torre didn’t have the luxury of tomorrow. He was six outs from sending the American League Division Series back to Anaheim. Or he was going home. It didn’t matter that using Mariano Rivera for the final two innings in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series cost the New York Yankees a title. To 56,226 screaming fans at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night, Torre simply was putting the game in God’s hands. “What we got from our pitchers tonight was what we got the last four months of the season,” Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez said. “You know you are in every game when things go like that. Even the biggest game of the year.” Although both Angels runs were driven home by the top of the order, Yankees pitching kept the heart of the lineup from unloading. Guerrero managed just an infield single that broke up Chacon’s no-hitter in the fourth. Garret Anderson, who hit a huge home run in Game 3 Friday night, went 0 for 3. Of the Angels Big Three, only Molina reached the outfield, Leiter, who entered the game with a 9.00 earned-run average, came in to face the left-handed Darin Erstad, who grounded to Derek Jeter to start a 6-4-3 double play. Rivera saved the Yankees’ Game 1 victory for Mike Mussina, who will start tonight against right-hander Bartolo Colon. He rolled through the Angels eighth, but was faced with the top of the order in the ninth. Against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2001 Series, he took a one-run lead into the final inning but couldn’t hold it. “The hardest part is that time in between the next inning,” said Chacon, who closed for the Rockies last season. “But he does it like he’s not even breaking a sweat. That is why he is the best.” In the ninth, Figgins took a called third strike and Cabrera tapped back to the mound. Guerrero took a big cut for strike one and two pitches later it was over. Tomorrow became tonight in Anaheim. “That is going to be the big one,” Rivera said of Game 5. “So if I have to go two, I’ll go two.” Matt McHale, (818) 713-3622 email@example.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals Although the nearly 160,000-member U.S. force in Iraq dwarfs the second-largest contingent – Britain’s 8,000 in Iraq and 2,000 elsewhere in the Gulf region – its support has shrunk substantially. In the months after the March 2003 invasion, the multinational force numbered about 300,000 soldiers from 38 countries. That figure is now just under 24,000 mostly non-combat personnel from 27 countries. The coalition has steadily unraveled as the death toll rises and angry publics clamor for troops to leave. In the spring, the Netherlands had 1,400 troops in Iraq. Today, there are 19, including a lone Dutch soldier in Baghdad. Ukraine’s remaining 876 troops in Iraq are due home by Dec. 31, fulfilling a campaign pledge by President Viktor Yushchenko. Bulgaria is pulling out its 380 troops after Dec. 15 parliamentary elections, Defense Minister Veselin Bliznakov said. In his strategy for Iraq, announced Wednesday, President George W. Bush said expanding international support was one of his goals. He also seemed to address the issue of more allies withdrawing. VIENNA, Austria – Two of America’s allies in Iraq are withdrawing forces this month and a half-dozen others are debating possible pullouts or reductions, increasing pressure on Washington as calls mount to bring home U.S. troops. Bulgaria and Ukraine will begin withdrawing their combined 1,250 troops by mid-December. If Australia, Britain, Italy, Japan, Poland and South Korea reduce or recall their personnel, more than half of the non-American forces in Iraq could be gone by next summer. Japan and South Korea help with reconstruction, but Britain and Australia provide substantial support forces and Italy and Poland train Iraqi troops and police. Their exodus would deal a blow to American efforts to prepare Iraqis to take over the most dangerous peacekeeping tasks and craft an eventual U.S. exit strategy. “The vibrations of unease from within the United States clearly have an impact on public opinion elsewhere,” said Terence Taylor of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Washington. “Public opinion in many of these countries is heavily divided.” “As our posture changes over time, so too will the posture of our coalition partners,” the document says. “We and the Iraqis must work with them to coordinate our efforts, helping Iraq to consolidate and secure its gains on many different fronts.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!