Nintendo may cut Wii price by $50-$200: reports

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NEW YORK - Nintendo Co Ltd may cut the price of its Wii video game console by $50 to about $200, starting this weekend, according to several technology blogs.

A Nintendo spokesman was not immediately available to comment about the reports, which appeared on blogs including Kotaku and Engadget. The blogs said the new price takes effect "beginning on September 27 at Best Buy" and elsewhere.

Nintendo, the top maker of the current generation of video game consoles, would be the last among its peers to cut prices.

Last month, Microsoft Corp slashed $100 off the price of its high-end Xbox 360 console and Sony Corp cut its PlayStation 3 by $100. Prices for both now start at about $300, although Microsoft also sells a low-end model, the Xbox Arcade, for about $200.

Sales of the PS3 jumped after the price cut in August, Sony Computer Entertainment of America Chief Executive Jack Tretton told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

Just after Microsoft cut its price on August 27, a Nintendo spokesman said the company had no plans for a cut.

Video game industry sales have slumped over the past six months, and hardware sales in August declined by 25 percent, according to research group NPD.

Analysts have pegged the drop to cautious spending by consumers in the tough economic environment, and a dearth of top-selling games. Long-awaited console price cuts by and new games, including updates to the "Halo," "Guitar Hero" and Call of Duty" franchises are expected to boost sales in coming months.

No motive in Bentain murder

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MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Jinggoy Estrada once again parried Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s allegations against his father, former President Joseph Estrada, specifically the claim that the former chief executive had a hand in the disappearance of a Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation employee 10 years ago.

In his privilege speech at the Senate today (Sept. 23), Estrada challenged Lacson to identify the policeman who allegedly told a resident of Polk Street in Greenhills, San Juan City, about the completion of a certain “mission” — which Lacson hinted to be the abduction and killing of Pagcor employee Edgar Bentain.

“Sen. Lacson now has the moral obligation to reveal the officer’s identity, not only for the benefit of the Bentain family, but for the sake of justice for all our countrymen,” he said.

The younger Estrada also expressed surprise on Lacson saying that Bentain was murdered, since it was widely reported that the Pagcor employee was only "missing."

Lacson, in his speech yesterday, said Bentain was killed “somewhere in Laguna.”

Bentain was the former camera operator of Casino Filipino who leaked a videotape showing then Vice President Estrada — who was campaigning at that time as a presidential candidate — playing high-stakes gambling with his buddy Charlie “Atong” Ang.

Bentain reportedly handed over the video to Estrada’s nemesis and then Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office chairman Manuel Morato — who released it to the public in an effort to discredit Estrada.

Six months into Estrada’s presidency, Bentain was abducted somewhere along Roxas Blvd and has not been heard from since.

Estrada’s son, meanwhile, said his father had no motive to have Bentain killed.

"There's no reason for President Estrada to have Mr. Bentain killed," he said.

The younger Estrada also denied his father's involvement in the Bubby Dacer-Emmanuel Corbito slay case, pointing to Lacson instead.

“He (Lacson) had the resources and the instruments to do this deed," Estrada said.

He likewise challenged Lacson to take matters to the court instead of launching his tirades through privilege speeches. - By Dennis Carcamo and Dino Maragay (Philstar News Service,