Rappler Newscast | December 31, 2012
Today on Rappler.
- 113 people are arrested for selling illegal firecrackers on the eve of 2013.
- American Jesuit priest James Reuter, a media pioneer and teacher, dies at age 96.
- The clock is ticking for US lawmakers to reach a budget deal as the fiscal cliff looms.
Story 1: 113 HELD OVER ILLEGAL FIRECRACKERS
More than a hundred people are arrested in Metro Manila for selling illegal firecrackers on the eve of 2013.
On Monday, the National Capital Region Police Office says 113 people are arrested after 281 operations.
At least nine are arrested for indiscriminate firing.
The NCRPO also confiscates truckloads of illegal firecrackers and closes down 6 stalls and 35 ambulant firecracker vendors.
This comes after President Benigno Aquino calls government agencies to a meeting Sunday to get a report on the campaign against illegal firecrackers.
Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras says eliminating illegal firecrackers is the top priority, adding that the government “must put a stop to the manufacture, transport and sale of the prohibited ones."
Officials of the health department, the Philippine National Police, the interior department, and the Bureau of Fire Protection attend the meeting.
The BFP also adds sky lanterns to potential fire hazards on New Year’s Eve and cautions people against lighting them over densely populated areas.
Story 2: FIREWORKS INJURIES RISE BEFORE NEW YEAR
Government officials report more injuries from fireworks as emergency services brace for a night of merrymaking to usher in the new year.
The health department says injuries linked to firecrackers rise to 186 since the Christmas weekend, including 33 with eye injuries and 6 victims who had limbs amputated.
Health officials say casualties are expected to increase as the revelry peaks at midnight.
The government reported 454 firecracker-related injuries as 2012 was welcomed in.
Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima says they are closely watching the capital’s slums because of the threat of fires.
President Benigno Aquino's spokesman Ramon Carandang says on Twitter: "New Year-related injuries will peak in the next 24 hours. Don't be a statistic. Party on...but do it safely."
Story 3: FR JAMES REUTER DIES AT 96
Father James Reuter of the Society of Jesus dies on Monday at the Our Lady of Peace Hospital in Paranaque City. He was 96.
Born in the United States on May 21, 1916, Reuter moved to the Philippines as a young Jesuit missionary in 1938.
He was a pioneer in Philippine media after World War II.
He was also instrumental in the formation of the Family Rosary Crusade as well as Jesuit Communications.
He received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism in 1989, and was given the Outstanding Service Award by Pope John Paul II in 1981.
Malacanang mourns the passing of Fr. Reuter, calling him - quote - ‘a man of faith, good cheer, and eloquence.’
Story 4: LAWMAKERS STILL AT ODDS ON EVE OF FISCAL CLIFF
US lawmakers return to work on New Year's Eve in a final attempt to reach a deal before spending cuts and tax hikes go into effect on January 1.
Two days of talks fail to produce a deal between political leaders struggling for a compromise to avert the fiscal cliff.
That refers to the economic effects of tax hikes, spending cuts and a reduction in the US budget deficit in 2013 if existing laws remain unchanged.
President Barack Obama accuses Republicans of causing the mess.
He says it was "very hard" for top Republican leaders to accept that "taxes on the wealthiest Americans should go up a little bit, as part of an overall deficit reduction package."
But House Speaker John Boehner says higher taxes would kill jobs.
He adds Republicans are seeking a - quote - ‘balanced' deficit deal.
If leaders fail to reach a deal, Obama wants a vote on his fallback plan that would preserve lower tax rates for families earning less than $250,000 a year and extend unemployment insurance for two million people.
Story 5: REPORTS: JAPAN PM ABE WANTS NEW NUCLEAR REACTORS
Japan's new prime minister Shinzo Abe wants to build new nuclear reactors despite public opposition to atomic energy after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
In a television interview, Abe says the new reactors would be different from the ones at Fukushima damaged by a strong tsunami on March 11, 2011.
Abe says, "We will build them while earning the understanding of the public as to how different they are."
The government expects to spend more than 30 years decommissioning the damaged reactors, which spewed out radioactive materials and forced thousands of people to evacuate.
In the interview, Abe says only the Fukushima reactors are damaged, while other regional power plants remain intact.
Japan suspended operations in all 50 reactors for inspections following the earthquake and tsunami.
Two are now fully operational.
Story 6: 2012, A 'HORRIBLE YEAR' FOR MANUEL V. PANGILINAN
After a number of key acquisitions and business deals in 2011, businessman Manny Pangilinan says 2012 was not his best year.
Katherine Visconti finds out why.
2012 is a year of breakups and makeups for Manny Pangilinan -- the head of the country's largest infrastructure group, leading telecommunications firm, top power retailer and the biggest gold producer.
He tells Rappler it's an annus horribilis, the Latin phrase for horrible year.
2012 was a year of breakups and makeups.
Throughout the year the tycoon tries to court the second largest TV network, GMA-7.
But GMA's boss plays hard to get.
In October acquisition talks failed.
It's the third time the parties try to get into bed with each other.
Clearly, this relationship is complicated.
Recently GMA chair Felipe Gozon says he's open to another offer.
One of Pangilinan's managers joke they should send roses.
Meantime, Pangilinan will be investing more in his current flame -- the third biggest TV network TV5, which he bought in 2009.
The network lost at least 8 billion pesos since then.
Another place Pangilinan is not feeling the love is from government.
It slapped a 1 billion peso fine on his mining firm Philex for a tailings spill after heavy rain.
MANNY PANGILINAN: It's severe, it's substantial as well. Nature acting on her own, we believe, caused that particular incident. It's unfortunate it's something we did not foresee.
This blow comes after the Aquino government issues a mining policy that spells uncertainty for Philex's future.
At the same time Pangilinan's Metro Pacific is at a standstill on three major projects that require government approval: the longest tollway in the Philippines, the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, the Metro Rail Transit system line three and the North and South Luzon Expressway Connector project.
The status of these projects -- complicated.
But that's not all.
This year the tycoon's relationship with his alma mater Ateneo turns rocky.
In September he parts ways with the University, citing quote -- irreconcilable differences over issues like mining and the reproductive health bill.
The next month he cozies up to Ateneo's biggest rival, the University of the Philippines, with a P5 million donation.
But barely two months after the break-up, Ateneo wins him back.
Current status: in an open relationship.
But it's not just business and basketball that's been a pain. There's also politics.
Pangilinan was also dragged into a word war in the Senate.
Senator Antonio Trillanes claims Pangilinan fueled anti-Chinese sentiments with the country's Foreign Secretary to further his business interests.
Pangilinan calls the senator a liar.
Fuming, he says he'd rather go back to Hong Kong, the home base of Metro Pacific.
But Pangilinan is heavily invested in the Philippines, economically and emotionally, and it doesn't look like he will leave.
MANUEL V. PANGILINAN, PHILEX AND MERALCO CHAIRMAN: We are business people so as in most places people will look for the hospitable places to invest in.
Hopefully 2013 will be a new chapter. He said he learned one important lesson from the trials of 2012.
Katherine Visconti, Rappler Manila.
Story 7: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number two, the Commission on Elections is considering delaying the 2013 elections in at least six areas still recovering from Typhoon Pablo.
Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes welcomes the proposal of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to delay the polls.
He says the NDRMMC will need to submit a formal proposal to the poll body first.
Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Misamis Oriental, Siquijor, Surigao del Sur, and Agusan del Sur have yet to recover from the devastation caused by Typhoon Pablo.
The six areas have a combined voting population of 2.13 million, enough to affect the Senate vote.
At number five, the victim of a gang-rape and murder in New Delhi, India, is cremated at a private ceremony on December 30.
The ceremony takes place just four hours after the victim’s body is flown in from Singapore where she received emergency medical treatment for her injuries.
The unidentified 23-year-old medical student and her male friend were violently abused by six men on the night of December 16.
Her death galvanized India, with protests calling for an end to violence against women.
Police have six suspects in custody, who reportedly admit to the crime.
At number eight, outgoing US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is hospitalized on December 30 after doctors discover a blood clot caused by a concussion earlier this month.
Doctors say Clinton became severely dehydrated because of the effects of a stomach bug and fainted, suffering a concussion.
She is not expected to return to work until mid January.
And at number nine, the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona in the early part of the year sparked a lot of discussion both offline and online.
Rappler publishes its analysis of about 143,000 tweets during the course of the last day of the trial.
Using a graphic tweet mapping system, readers can see the online networks created at specific moments in time, as people tweet and retweet other messages.
Visualizing social networks is the first step to harnessing these networks for positive social change.
Story 8: APPLE, INTEL MAKING A SMARTWATCH FOR 2013?
Apple fans may have something to look forward to in 2013.
Two tech websites, PC Mag and The Next Web, report that Apple and Intel are teaming up to build a ‘smart watch.’
The bluetooth-equipped watch will be able to connect with an Apple smartphone or tablet device, displaying a caller ID or text message.
Several other tech companies are also in the running to create a full-featured smart watch.
Time will tell who will win the smart watch race in 2013.