Daily News Highlights – January 7, 2016 Edition

Gwen De La Cruz

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

  1. North Korea claims to set off ‘miniaturized’ hydrogen bomb

    North Korea said Wednesday it had carried out a “successful” miniaturized hydrogen bomb test – a shock announcement that, if confirmed, would massively raise the stakes in the hermit state’s bid to strengthen its nuclear arsenal. The announcement triggered swift international condemnation but also skepticism, with experts suggesting the apparent yield was far too low for a thermonuclear device which the North was believed to be years from developing. “The republic’s first hydrogen bomb test has been successfully performed at 10 am (0130 GMT),” North Korean state television announced. “With the perfect success of our historic H-bomb, we have joined the rank of advanced nuclear states.” The television showed North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s signed order – dated December 15 – to go ahead with the test, with a handwritten exhortation to begin 2016 with the “thrilling sound of the first hydrogen bomb explosion.”

    Read the full story on Rappler World.

  2. Beijing lands 2 more planes on contested reef

    China landed two more planes on a contested reef in the South China Sea on Wednesday, state media said, despite international condemnation of a landing at the same location days earlier. Two civilian aircraft landed Wednesday morning on Fiery Cross reef in the disputed Spratlys island group during “test flights.” Vietnam also claims the reef. The planes departed from and returned to the city of Haikou, the capital of the southern island province of Hainan. Xinhua said the facility would help transport supplies, personnel and medical aid. China claims virtually all the South China Sea, while the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have partial claims. China has asserted its claim by rapidly building artificial islands, including airstrips said to be capable of hosting military jets.

    Read the full story on Rappler World.

  3. PH lawmakers surreptitiously remove P1B funding for contraceptives

    On the first working day of 2016, on January, officials of the Department of Health learned that the P1 billion ($21.24 million) they proposed and was approved by the House of Representatives during the budget deliberations had disappeared from the national budget. Health Secretary Janette Garin said the 2016 budget for contraceptives was removed during the deliberations of the Senate and House bicameral conference committee. This happened almost two years after the reproductive health law was declared constitutional by the Supreme Court. Republic Act 10354 or the RH law mandates the DOH to procure, distribute to local government units, and monitor the usage of family planning supplies for the whole country. The P1 billion allocation was meant to purchase family planning commodities such as condoms, pills, and IUDs. The health secretary said the department would have to seek help from its partners and donors for the program to continue.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Senator calls on Aquino to sack transportation chief

    Presidential race front runner Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate sub-committee on transportation, called on President Benigno Aquino III to “immediately” fire Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya for “incompetence and shortsightedness” in addressing the National Capital Region’s mass transit system. The senator said: “Five months left is an eternity to our riding public. We have endured more than 3 years of Abaya’s incompetence and shortsightedness.” She pointed out that Abaya had been “seemingly nonchalant” amid the “critical” state of the Metro Rail Transit, which placed “in peril” the safety of commuters.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Fewer, stronger storms expected in PH until June

    The first half of 2016 will likely bring fewer but stronger storms in the Philippines, weather forecasters said. The El Niño phenomenon that began in 2015 is expected to persist until June of this year, bringing below-normal rainfall in most parts of the country. For this reason, only 2 to 6 tropical cyclones are expected to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility in the first 6 months of the year, compared to the average of 5 storms to enter PAR during this period. 

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Each Filipino is indebted by P62,000

    The national government’s outstanding debt as of end-November 2015 jumped by 4.1% from the previous year due to the increase in both foreign and domestic loans, the Bureau of the Treasury reported. The government’s outstanding debt stood at P5.95 trillion ($126.37 billion) as of end-November, P236 billion ($5.01 billion) higher than the P5.72 trillion ($121.41 billion) recorded as of the same period in 2014. As of end-October, the national government’s domestic debt amounted to P3.9 trillion ($65.58 million), while the outstanding external debt stood at P2.06 trillion ($43.75 billion). The Philippine government is set to borrow P674.8 billion ($14.32 billion) this year to cover the fiscal deficit and pay the principal of the country’s loans.

    Read the full story on Rappler Business.

  7. Norway sells most number of zero emission cars

    Zero emission cars accounted for 17.1% of new car registrations in 2015 in Norway, the highest market share for clean vehicles anywhere in the world. “Never has the market share of electric cars been as high as in 2015,” Christina Bu of the Norwegian Association for Electric Cars said. Almost 26,000 zero emission cars – all of them electric except for 9 hydrogen vehicles – were registered last year in the Scandinavian country, out of a total of 150,700 private new cars, the Information Council for Road Traffic said. The most sold models were the electric version of Volkswagen’s Golf, the Tesla S, Nissan’s Leaf, the BMW i3 and the Renault Zoe. In 2014, zero emission cars made up 12.5% of the Norwegian market. The Scandinavian country is cementing its role as a pioneer in the field. It offers numerous incentives to encourage buyers to opt for green cars.

    Read the full story on Rappler Business.

  8. It’s raining technical fouls on Alaska-Globalport match 

    A total of 13 technical fouls were called in one instance on players and officials from Alaska and Globalport in Game 2 of their semifinals series in the 2016 PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday. After a lengthy deliberation, referees assessed technicals on players, coaches, a team manager, and team governors following scuffle that threatened to turn into an all-out bench-clearing brawl with 52.6 seconds left in the first quarter. The fracas started when Alaska guard Dondon Hontiveros fell to the floor, taking Globalport forward Anthony Semerad with him. Teammates who rushed to help them got into a shoving match, prompting referees, coaches, and team governors from both sides to intervene.

    Read the full story on Rappler Sports.

  9. Microsoft says goodbye to older Internet Explorer versions

    If you’re still using older versions of the Internet Explorer web browser, you may want to consider a switch to a newer browser model soon. On Tuesday, January 12, Microsoft will be patching Internet Explorer versions 8, 9, and 10 to remind people that those browser versions are no longer supported by security updates or patches. The lack of updates will make those browser versions less secure and more vulnerable to attacks.

    Read the full story on Rappler Technology.

  10. Pia Wurtzbach coming home to the Philippines for a week

    Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach is scheduled to come home to the Philippines on January 23, and will stay for a week to meet fans and do pageant activities, as well as possibly serve as bridesmaid at the wedding of close friend, TV host Pauline Luna. Stella Araneta, Binibining Pilipinas chairperson, said that the homecoming will give the public a chance to see Pia after winning the crown. Among the activities lined up for the beauty queen are a press conference, a parade, and a special homecoming program at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    For Pia Wurtzbach’s itinerary in Manila, read the full story on Rappler Life and Style.

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