August 21, 2013 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. 1M affected by monsoon – NDRRMC

    FLOODED: Aerial view of Laguna. Photo by the Philippine Air Force

    More than a million Filipinos across three regions are now affected by the southwest monsoon rains and tropical storm Maring (international codename Trani). According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), some 223,991 families or 1,060,094 individuals who live in Central Luzon, CALABARZON (Southern Tagalog), and Metro Manila have been directly affected by the heavy rains. At least 8 people have died, many of them drowned in flood waters. There is a report of a 9th fatality in Mountain Province. Several towns and provinces have declared a state of calamity, including Bataan, Cavite, Laguna, and several LGUs in Metro Manila, Ilocos Sur, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Tarlac, and Occidental Mindoro.

    Read the latest updates on Rappler.

  2. Relentless rain shuts down Metro Manila

    For the second straight day, offices and schools across Metro Manila were closed after intense rainfall rendered many city roads impassable. The streets in the city of some 12 million people appeared mostly empty as residents chose to remain indoors. Major junctures like EDSA-Magallanes and EDSA-Taft as well as parts of C5 were flooded and difficult to traverse for light vehicles. The government says the an equivalent of one month of rainfall fell in just one day. Emergency services are on full alert, particularly in low-lying areas near the Marikina and Pasig rivers. The MMDA estimates that half of the city was inundated by flood waters. Some 200,000 people evacuated to higher ground.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. A #ReliefPH call for help

    HELP FLOOD VICTIMS. Student volunteers pack relief materials to be distributed to families affected by the calamity. Photo by Rappler

    Netizens took to social media to find out how they could help victims of tropical storm Maring. Universities, civic groups, and business began their relief operations on Tuesday, August 20 after rains temporarily weakened. Using the hashtags #RescuePH and #ReliefPH, people on social media were able to send out calls for help or volunteer donations of relief goods. The hashtag #MovePH was also being used to link up individuals who wanted to help with organizations or relief operations centers that needed help. Early on Tuesday, DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman made a public appeal for volunteers to help repackage relief goods at the agency’s National Resources Operations Center in Pasay City. Many people responded online by retweeting the call out or signifying their intent to volunteer.

    If you want to know how to help, visit Rappler.

  4. Death toll from Cebu ferry disaster rises to 71

    AFTERMATH. Life rafts from the sunken ferry St. Thomas Aquinas float in front of cargo ship Sulpicio Express 7 on August 17, 2013, whose bow was destroyed after a colliding with the ferry the night before off Talisay, Cebu. Photo by AFP/Ted Aljibe

    The confirmed death toll from a ferry disaster in Cebu rose to 71 on Wednesday, August 21, as more bodies were found, some of them inside the sunken ship itself. Divers pulled out more bodies from the waters off Cebu, where the St Thomas Aquinas ferry collided with a cargo ship on Friday night (August 16) and quickly sank. Cebu coastguard commander Weniel Azcuna said there are 49 people still missing and are believed to have drowned. Strong currents and bad weather as well as the difficulty of reaching the sunken ferry, lying at a depth of about 30 meters (98 feet) has slowed down recovery efforts, he added. Over 200 military, coastguard and police are also helping mop up a large oil spill that has leaked from the sunken ferry, polluting valuable mangroves, fishing grounds and popular beach resorts.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Pentagon chief to visit Manila

    MANILA-BOUND: US Defense Chief Chuck Hagel. AFP photo

    US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will visit Manila on August 29-30 as part of Southeast Asian tour of 4 countries. He will also visit Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. Hagel’s visit coincides with the ASEAN Defense Ministers annual retreat in Brunei. His visit to Manila comes at a imd when the US and the Philippines are framing a new agreement that will allow increased presence of US troops in the country, including giving them access to military bases. The US has been a consistent source of foreign military aid for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which relies on US surplus military equipment bought at discounted prices. Hagel was a former politician and a close ally of President Barack Obama.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Pakistan ex-leader Musharraf charged over Bhutto murder

    THE FALL. Pervez Musharraf, former chief of the powerful Pakistani army, is indicted for the murder of Benazir Bhutto. File photo by AFP

    Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has been indicted in connection with the 2007 assassination of opposition leader and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. It is the first time that a current or ex-army chief has been charged with a crime in Pakistan. Musharraf denies any involvement or conspiracy in Bhutto’s murder. He says the charges are politically motivated. The BBC says the indictment was expected but has been delayed because of threats to Musharraf’s life. He made his appearance at a Rawalpindi court amidst tight security. Bhutto, a popular opposition figure during Musharraf’s presidency was killed at an election rally in Rawalpindi in December 2007. Six others were charged along with Musharraf, including 4 suspected militants and two senior police officials.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Worst radioactive leak from Fukushima waste tank

    GROUND ZERO. This hand out picture taken by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) on August 19, 2013 shows contaminated water which leaked from a water tank at TEPCO's Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant at Okuma town in Fukushima prefecture. AFP / TEPCO

    Some 300 tons of radioactive water is believed to have leaked from a tank at Japan’s crippled nuclear plant, the worst such leak since the crisis began, the operator said Tuesday, August 20. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said the leak was believed to be continuing Tuesday at Fukushima and it had not yet pinpointed the source of it. Puddles of water with extremely high radiation levels have been found near the water tanks at the plant. The radiation present is the equivalent of five years worth of normal exposure for a power plant worker but compressed in one hour, TEPCO said. Since a quake-generated tsunami struck Fukushima in March 2011, knocking out reactor cooling systems and sparking meltdowns, there have been four similar leaks from tanks of the same design. TEPCO admitted the toxic water might contaminate groundwater and flow into the Pacific Ocean “in the longer term”, but said it was working to avoid such a situation.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Zest Air resumes operations

    FLYING AGAIN. CAAP lifts the suspension order it imposed on budget carrier Zest Air. Photo by AFP

    Low-cost carrier Zest Air resumes operations after a suspension order was lifted on August 20. Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) deputy director general John Andrews said 3 of the company’s 11 aircraft were “release for flight.” CAAP grounded Zest Air’s operations on Friday, August 16, because the airline committed serious deviations of aviation safety rules and standards. Zest Air however insisted its fleet is safe and airworthy. It claims that it has addressed the safety concerns raised by CAAP. Over 7,000 passengers were affected by the carrier’s suspension.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. 1M World Cup tickets go on sale

    MEET FULECO. A cartoon armadillo chosen as the official mascot for the 2014 football World Cup in Brazil is to be called Fuleco. Photo from FIFA World Cup website.

    The first batch of nearly one million tickets for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil went on sale on the internet on Tuesday, August 20. The chase for tickets began at 1000 GMT (6:00PM PST), even though World Cup qualification is far from over and the draw for the final phase does not take place until December 6. At least 300,000 of the tickets that went on sale are reserved for “those over 60 years old, students and recipients of the Bolsa Familia family grant,” the International Football Federation (FIFA) said on its internet site. Tickets for the opening match on June 12, 2014 at the Itaquerao stadium in Sao Paulo cost between $220 and $495 while those for the final at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana on July 13 will set back fans a minimum of $440 up to $990. The World Cup will take place across 12 cities with around 600,000 tourists expected to attend the tournament.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Don’t rev it: Car care, flood and monsoon

    FLOODWATER AND YOUR CAR. Don't do this just yet

    Rappler asked C! Magazine editor-in-chief and car expert James Deakin what motorists should do to keep their vehicles running dry amidst the wet weather. Deakin said that motorists should always check the depth of the flood water before venturing in. Use visual cues like street lamps or other indicators to figure out if the roads are passable. It’s also good to know the ground clearance and ability of your vehicle to tread flooded streets; but when in doubt, just avoid the flood waters all together. Deakin also advises motorists to stay calm in the event the engine dies while driving through a flood. The worst thing a motorist can do is to restart the engine if stuck in flood waters as this could seriously destroy the car.

    Know more tips to stay safe and dry on Rappler.

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