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Faces of the news

/ 05:22 AM June 17, 2018

Robert De Niro


It’s not wise to cross Robert De Niro. The two-time Academy Award winner seemed like a, well, raging bull when he dropped the F-bomb twice before introducing Bruce Springsteen at the Tony Awards on June 10. The scathing expletive wasn’t meant for The Boss, who received a special Tony Award for his sold-out show “Springsteen on Broadway,” but was directed at US President Donald Trump. De Niro’s “F*ck Trump” tirade didn’t end there. The following day, he denounced Trump anew when he publicly apologized to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the American president’s “idiotic behavior.” As expected, De Niro’s rousing outbursts didn’t sit well with Trump, who hit back at the 74-year-old acting icon with a tweet after his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore. Trump described his nemesis as “punch-drunk” and as having “a low IQ.” De Niro was nominated for an Oscar seven times and won twice, for his lucid, indelible and far-from-“punch-drunk” portrayals in “The Godfather, Part II” and “Raging Bull.”

Rafael Nadal


The King of Clay still reigns supreme. Spanish tennis ace Rafael Nadal extended his French Open record with his 11th title at Roland Garros after dismissing the challenge of Austrian Dominic Thiem, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. More amazing was how Nadal has stretched the trend of tennis’ “aging” stars dominating the world circuit. Written off as fading forces two years ago, Nadal, 32, and Roger Federer, approaching 37, have won the last six Grand Slam titles between them. “Let me enjoy this title. I can’t be always thinking of more. Of course, I have ambition, I have passion for what I am doing, but I never have been crazy about all this kind of stuff,” Nadal said after winning his 17th Grand Slam. But the Spaniard subsequently hinted that he would be taking a break from the game, citing doctors’ advice for him to rest. Having just turned 32, Nadal also reflected that he did not expect to still be playing at this point in his career. “As a boy I thought that at 30, I would have already retired. But instead I’m still here,” the tennis ace added.” The only thing I know is that I will have a family,” he said.

Janine Pontejos

The Philippine teams may not have finished the way they had hoped in the Fiba 3×3 World Cup recently, but the country has reason to be proud when the curtains fell on the tournament. Perlas Pilipinas sharpshooter Janine Pontejos showcased her soft touch from the perimeter when she ruled the Shootout side event of the World Cup. And take note: She beat both men and women contenders in the match. Pontejos drained 14 triples, highlighted by eight straight makes, to bag the crown. She said the wild cheering from the hometown crowd proved to be a big lift for her. Pontejos actually finished with the same output as Russia’s Alexandra Stolyar with 14 points, but the Filipino hotshot had the better time finishing her run in 41.86 seconds, close to eight seconds faster than her Russian rival. Croatia’s top gunner Marin Hrvoje was the best men’s finisher as he wound up with the bronze after scoring 11 points. Maksim Dybivskii of Russia missed out on a podium finish with eight points. “We live for that moment; so amazing,” said fellow player Jack Animam.

Sara Duterte

The presidential daughter, who is also mayor of Davao City, described herself as heartless in asking her critics to leave her alone. She recently crossed swords with Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV—at least on social media—over the latter’s statements that she was seeking a higher post in 2019 and eventually, the presidency in 2022. Sara, a 40-year-old mother of three, has been making jokes about running for the congressional post that Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles would be vacating, or even running for Vice President. But she trashed every idea of her running for senator or President. Sara, the eldest of Duterte’s two daughters, said she might even run for barangay captain. Herself a lawyer, Sara admitted sharing several other traits with her father—including a “twisted sense of humor.” Like the President, she doesn’t mince words when responding to criticisms. But Trillanes was as bold, saying that Sara was using her father’s playbook: Mr. Duterte himself denied running for the presidency in 2016, the senator pointed out.

Leni Robredo

Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo drew the admiration of the crowd—and netizens—when she and other government officials braved the rains and proceeded with the Independence Day ceremony at Rizal Park on June 12. Robredo led the traditional hoisting of the Philippine flag, followed by the wreath-laying at the Rizal Monument. Some netizens, however, questioned why she had to render a salute when, as Vice President, she had no military role. In her message, Robredo said the country’s independence was being confronted by various dangers: from the spread of poverty to injustice; from neglect of human rights to territorial grab by foreign forces. “In the face of all these, the Filipino I know will not concede defeat. Instead, the Filipino I know will stand up with all courage to fight for our freedom,” she said. Other online critics drew naughty comparisons between the drenched Robredo and the drenched ballots that the camp of her close rival, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. had claimed were evidence of tampering in his ongoing electoral protest.

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