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- Luzon, Visayas provinces brace for Typhoon Nona
Typhoon Nona (international name Melor) maintained its strength on Monday morning, December 14, ahead of its expected landfall in Sorsogon in the evening. In its bulletin issued 5:20 am on Monday, state weather bureau PAGASA said Typhoon Nona was last spotted 205 kilometers east of Catarman, Northern Samar. It is moving west at a slightly slower 17 kilometers per hour (kph). Nona still has maximum winds of 150 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 185 kph. Estimated rainfall amount is from heavy to intense within the 300-kilometer diameter of the typhoon. Ahead of the landfall, school has been suspended in a number of areas affected by the typhoon. Albay Governor Joey Salceda suspended work in the southeastern Luzon province except for disaster response as Typhoon Nona (international name Melor) was forecast to make a “direct hit” on Albay. PAGASA said storm surges of up to 3.6 meters are possible in Albay and other areas under signal number 3, with wind of 121 to 170 kilometers per hour expected in 18 hours.
Nona to hit Sorsogon; signal #1 up in Metro Manila.
Class suspensions: Monday, December 14.
Albay suspends work due to Typhoon Nona.
- Is #COP21 a success?
The climate agreement adopted on Saturday, December 12, by over 190 countries in Le Bourget, France is a big leap from previous climate talks. According to the climate agreement, parties will keep the global temperature to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.” But is it right to hail the agreement as a triumph? Former lead climate change negotiator of the Philippines Naderev “Yeb” Saño notes that the agreement is no different from a New Year’s resolution – it is not legally binding. On the crucial financing issue, developed countries agreed to muster at least $100 billion (92 billion euros) a year from 2020 to help developing nations. However, following US objections, it was not included in the legally- binding section of the deal. Related to this Pope Francis on Sunday, December 13, hailed the UN climate accord reached in Paris but warned the key now lay in its implementation, especially in help for the poor. “Implementing it will require unanimous commitment and generous involvement by everyone,” the stern-looking pope said.
- Warmest winter in New York
New York set a record Sunday for the warmest December 13, with some residents heading out in shorts and sandals just 12 days before the usually frigid Christmas holiday. Midday temperatures in Central Park climbed to 66 degrees F (19 degrees C), according to the National Weather Service. On Saturday, which was also unseasonably warm, thousands of people participated in the city’s annual “SantaCon” bar crawl, which sees revelers dress up as various holiday characters, with some Santa Clauses turning out in only a t-shirt and red trousers or even going barechested. The mean temperature for New York on December 13 is 38 degrees F, with the highest previous recorded temperature for the day at 64 degrees F in 1923. Data records were first kept beginning in 1869.
- Binay for big infrastructure, Roxas for consultation, Poe for renewable energy
Presidential aspirants Jejomar Binay, Mar Roxas and Grace Poe voiced their thoughts on a number of issues in separate events recently. At a forum in the Ateneo, UNA standard-bearer Jejomar Binay promised higher Internal Revenue Allotment shares for LGUs, and major infrastructure projects: one mega project per region and one major project per province. At the CNN Philippines’ Town Hall on Thursday, December 10, LP standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II and his running-mate, Camarines Sur 3rd District Representative Leni Robredo, promised a “consultative” and “participative” decision-making process in government. In a statement on Sunday, December 13, Presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe pushed for changes in the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, and said distribution utilities should be compelled to source a share of their power supply from renewable energy sources.
- Thai junta critic charged with sedition over Facebook ‘like’
Can liking a post on Facebook land you in a military jail? This, apparently, is a reality in Thailand where a critic of the military junta was recently arrested for “liking” a doctored photo of the country’s king on Facebook. Thanakorn Siripaiboon, 27, was arrested recently and charged with sedition, lese majeste and computer crimes for clicking “like” on a photo of the king and sharing it, plus an infographic on a corruption scandal, with around 600 friends. He is currently being held incommunicado at a military base, the ruling junta said Saturday, December 12, as rights groups warned he risked becoming another victim of “enforced disappearance.” “He is under military custody,” Colonel Burin Thongprapai, junta legal officer, told AFP Saturday, adding that he would be remanded at a military court Monday. Under Thai law anyone convicted of insulting the revered but ailing 88-year-old Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and the queen, heir or regent can face up to 15 years in jail on each count. Prosecutions have soared since the army, which tags itself as the champion of the monarchy, grabbed power last year.
- Only 5 US states spared from mass shooting bloodbaths in 2015
Only 5 US states were spared from mass shootings in 2015 according to data compiled on ShootingTracker.com, a website that tracks verified mass shootings that occur in the United States each year, no matter the cause or intent of the toll of victims. As of December 2, 353 mass shootings have killed 462 people in 220 cities, according to the website. The count includes all events that have killed or wounded at least four people. Experts debate whether the states were spared thanks to coincidence or if circumstances there make them a haven of peace. President Barack Obama has repeatedly called for stricter gun control legislation. The easy flow of weapons, experts say, triggers more mass shootings because guns can end up in the wrong people’s hands. Except for Hawaii, however, none of the 5 states have adopted strict gun control legislation. The outcome owes in part to the relatively low population density in those states, experts say. Wyoming, home to 584,000 people, is the least populous state, according to 2014 estimates from the US Census. North Dakota, with 739,500 people, is the fourth least populated state (ranking 47th out of 50 overall by population). The most populous state, California with 38.8 million people, had the second biggest number of shootings so far this year — 25. Florida, which counted the most – 27 – shootings, has a population of 19.9 million, making it the third most populated state. Learn more by reading the links below.
Five US states spared from mass shooting bloodbaths in 2015
- PH consumer confidence highest in 2 years – BSP
They were pessimistic during the 2nd quarter of the year but Filipino consumers have become more upbeat towards the 4th quarter of the year, survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pillipinas (BSP) showed. The overall confidence index of Filipino consumers hit its highest level since the third quarter of 2013. BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said the results of the fourth quarter 2015 Consumer Expectations Survey (CES) showed the overall confidence index rising to -8.1% from -11.6 % in the third quarter. But while it is one of the highest ratings since 2007, “It is still negative, meaning there are more pessimists out there than optimists,” he said. “Individuals are pessimistic. People would tend to see the problems rather than the brighter side,” Guinigundo added. Learn more by clicking the links below.
PH consumers’ sentiment highest in 2 years – BSP
- Volunteers help revive the Manila Metropolitan Theater
For more than a decade now, the Manila Metropolitan Theater has looked less like a national cultural treasure and more like a forgotten piece of history. But it is slowly coming back to life. Two days after the 84th anniversary of the inauguration of the theater, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCAA) formally kicked off the restoration of the MET – called “METamorphosis” – with a clean-up drive powered by architecture student-volunteers. Purchased by the NCCA from the Government Service Insurance System in June 2015, the MET will require funding of around P350 million-P500 million for it to be functional. Water supply has already been restored to the theater, but there is still a long way to go. Learn more about the restoration efforts.
- For Auction: Kenneth Cobonpue ‘Yoda’ chairs from APEC welcome dinner
Remember those ‘Yoda’ chairs designed by Kenneth Cobonpue for use by heads of state during the APEC Economic Leaders’ Welcome Dinner? If you are interested to buy one of those, here’s your chance. On December 16, 2015, Cobonpue will auction off 6 of those chairs to will benefit UNICEF’s 1,000 Days Campaign. The UNICEF Auction for Action will be organized by Special Advocate for Children Daphne Oseña-Paez. One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit the campaign. UNICEF representative Lotta Sylwander shares that the 1,000 Days campaign ensures for healthier children who are otherwise at risk from the moment of conception, by affording adequate health care and nutrition for mothers who, may also have been left behind due to poverty and extreme living conditions. Learn more about the campaign and the auction.
- Author of ‘Imagined Communities’ dies in his sleep
Indonesia expert and Asian scholar Benedict Anderson died in his sleep Sunday, December 13, in Malang, East Java. He was 79. Anderson, best known for his book Imagined Communities, had already turned blue by the time he was found by his driver in his hotel room in Batu, Malang. Anderson was a scholar with special focus and interest on Indonesia, although he has also written on the Philippines and Thailand. The Irish academic who was born in China wrote a paper on the political situation in Indonesia as a graduate student in Cornell University. The paper resulted in Suharto barring him from the country during his regime, although Anderson was able to re-enter upon Suharto’s fall. Anderson “left a deep imprint on Southeast Asian studies, shaping the way power was understood in Indonesian society, placing Thailand not alongside ‘uncolonized’ Japan but with the semi-colonies of the unfederated Malay states, and tracing the intimacy between Philippine cacique democracy and the American Guilded Age,” according to Filipino Professor Patricio Abinales. Learn more.