Rappler Newscast | December 26, 2012
Today on Rappler.
- The Abu Sayyaf posts a video of kidnap victim Australian Warren Rodwell on Facebook and YouTube.
- Asia’s longest running insurgency, The Communist Party of the Philippines, celebrates it’s 44th anniversary nowhere near its goal of armed revolution.
- ESPN names junior featherweight titlist and 4-division world champion Nonito Donaire “2012 boxer of the year”.
Story 1: SEEN ON FACEBOOK: KIDNAPPED AUSTRALIAN
The Abu Sayyaf posts a video of Australian Warren Rodwell, kidnapped more than a year ago, on Facebook and YouTube.
Holding up a copy of a Philippine newspaper dated December 15, 2012...
Rodwell looks noticeably thinner than the last proof-of-life video recorded 9 months ago.
Wearing a black t-shirt, his hair is cropped short, his cheeks sunken.
His voice is thin and raspy.
Rodwell speaks in front of a patterned sheet to hide his location.
A Philippine intelligence document obtained by Rappler shows that as of August, Rodwell was held by the Abu Sayyaf in Al-Barka, Basilan, the site of the controversial killing of special forces soldiers in November, 2010.
Earlier in the year, there were reports he had been moved to Sulu.
Rodwell, 54, was kidnapped from his home in the southern Philippine town of Ipil, Zamboanga del Sur on December 5, 2011.
The video you see now was taken in January 2012.
Rodwell’s family in Australia say they have gotten little word about his condition.
A cousin, wishing to be identified only as Susan, says Rodwell had a quote--“tough upbringing and his military training would have equipped him with determination and resilience.”
Sources in western and Philippine intelligence tells Rappler negotiations are difficult because it’s unclear who will lead.
At least two agencies with different goals and tactics are involved in efforts to release Rodwell, the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service.
The Australian government refused to comment.
WARREN RODWELL: This video clip today is to say that I am alive. I am waiting to be released. I have no idea what’s going on outside. I am just being held in isolation. Again, I am alive. It’s 378 days, I think – something like that. The newspaper is from the Philippines. If any … – I understand there are some negotiations. I do not get information, updated information. The people around me normally don’t speak English. I understand something is happening but I don’t know when.
More than a year after his kidnapping, Rodwell seems angry but resigned.
He ends his statement with 3 telling sentences.
RODWELL: I do not expect to be released before the year 2013 at the earliest. I personally hold no hope at all for being released. I do not trust the Abu Sayyaf. I do not trust the Australian government. I just don’t trust anyone. Personally I don’t care, Is that it?
Story 2: TROPICAL STORM QUINTA WEAKENS, MOVES TOWARDS PALAWAN
Tropical storm Quinta, international codename Wukong, weakens Wednesday and continues to move towards Northern Palawan.
All public storm warning signals in Mindanao are lifted but signal number 1 remains in different parts of the Philippines.
In Luzon the areas are…
Mindoro Provinces, Romblon, Lubang Island, Northern Palawan, Calamian Group of Islands, Cuyo Island and Marinduque.
In Visayas, the areas under signal number one are…
Aklan, Capiz, Antique, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, and Guimaras
PAGASA expects Quinta to be at 460 kilometers west of Coron, Palawan by Thursday afternoon and outside the Philippine area of responsibility in the evening.
Story 3: PASSENGERS, VEHICLES STRANDED AS QUINTA INTENSIFIES
Hundreds of passengers are stranded in various seaports in Eastern Visayas Tuesday due to Tropical Storm Quinta.
The Office of Civil Defense says nearly 400 passengers are stranded in ports in Leyte, Southern Leyte and Northern Samar.
At least 38 rolling vessels and 32 vehicles are also stranded.
A separate police report says 32 light vehicles and 42 heavy vehicles are stranded in Eastern Visayas.
The Philippine Coast Guard stations in the region stops issuing navigational clearances to sea vessels, and advises fisherfolk not to sail out into the sea due to the storm.
Story 4: CPP: 44 YEARS OF GUERRILLA WARFARE
The Communist Party of the Philippines, Asia's longest running insurgency turns 44 years old Wednesday...
but is still far away from its aim of reaching armed parity with the Philippine government.
In 2008, the CPP declared it was aiming for a strategic stalemate by 2013 in its guerrilla war with the Philippine government.
Its Maoist-inspired warfare has 3 strategic stages: strategic defensive, strategic stalemate and strategic offensive.
Forty four years after it was born, the CPP is still in the strategic defensive stage.
But the guerrillas say they are -quote- "making substantial progress" in carrying out their objective of a "strategic stalemate."
The CPP anniversary comes a day after the arrest of key NPA leader Filemon Mendrez - the 6th most wanted man in the country.
Story 5: THOUSANDS FLEE MALAYSIA FLOODS
Malaysian national news agency Bernama says floods triggered by torrential monsoon rains forces nearly 14,000 people to flee their homes and seek shelter in relief centers.
The rain showers which coincided with high tide floods hundreds of homes in three northeastern states in Malaysia.
Bernama says the flood situation is deteriorating but number of evacuees continue to rise.
Malaysia's weather forecast director warns there could be more rain in the next few days.
Story 6: THE wRap
Let’s now look at Rappler’s “wRap” for today…
a list of the ten most important events around the world you shouldn’t miss.
At number 2, Egyptian voters approve their new constitution in a 2-phase referendum that took place over the weekend. Of the 32.9% which turned out to vote, 63.8% voted in favor of the new constitution while 36.2% voted against it.
The results come despite protests saying the referendum was rushed, that its wording does not protect the people, and that the composition of the body tasked to draft it was not representative of the people.
At number 3, Pope Benedict XVI calls for peace in Syria during his annual Christmas message at the Vatican City.
Speaking before thousands of followers gathered at St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pope appeals -quote- "for an end to the bloodshed and easier access for the relief of refugees and the displaced."
At number 5, 27 people, including top members of the Kazakhstan border guard die Tuesday on board a Kazakh military plane that crashed in southern city of Shymkent December 25.
The Kazakh military plane was carrying seven crew and 20 servicemen, including the acting head of the Kazakh federal border service. The plane crashed 20 kilometers from the Shymkent airport from a height of 800 meters.
And at number 8, Video streaming service Netflix goes down across the United States on Christmas day.
Netflix admits the outage via a Tweet saying, "We're sorry for the Christmas Eve outage. Terrible timing! Engineers are working on it now."
The service resumes to "streaming levels" on December 26th Manila time.
Netflix blames the problem on Amazon Web Services servers as it reports issues the same time Netflix went down.
Story 7: DONAIRE IS ESPN'S BOXER OF THE YEAR
ESPN names junior featherweight titlist and 4-division world champion Nonito 'The Filipino Flash' Donaire as the 2012 boxer of the year.
Donaire, who holds a record of 31 wins, 1 loss, with 20 knockouts, fought and won 4 times in the last 12 months.
Most elite champions fight only twice a year.
The sports network also commends Donaire for being the only fighter to allow random urine and blood testing 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Story 8: ‘METRO MANILA’ COMPETES IN SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
"Metro Manila," a film with an all-Filipino cast directed by Oscar- and BAFTA-nominated British director Sean Ellis, makes it to the Sundance Film Festival.
Set entirely in the Philippines, "Metro Manila" will compete against 11 other films in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition.
This Sundance category puts the spotlight on emerging filmmakers from all over the globe who offer new perspectives and unique film-making style.
The festival will be held from January 17 to 27 in Park City, Utah in the USA.