January 2, 2015 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Video of Italian women in Syria: “We could be killed.”

    Early morning of January 2, a video is released of 2 young Italian women who have been missing since July after they travelled to Syria.  Some online postings say the video is from al-Qaeda affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra. A father of one of the victims identifies them saying, “I have no doubt that it’s them.”

    20 year old Greta Ramelli and 21 year old Vanessa Marzulo are in black and wearing the Islamic headdress and are seated against a wall.  One reads a statement in English, which includes: “We are in big danger, and we could be killed.”

    Read more on Rappler.

  2. 76,000 die in deadliest year in Syria, more than 15,000 dead in Iraq

    2014 was the deadliest year in Syria and Iraq in recent memory, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. More than 76,000 people were killed in Syria – 17,790 were civilians, including more than 3,500 children – making 2014 Syria’s deadliest in its 4-year conflict. Separately, the Iraqi government and other groups said more than 15,000 people died in Iraq, making it the worst year since 2007.

    Many of the deaths were the result of the grab for land of ISIS or the Islamic State of Syria & Iraq.

    Read more about on Rappler.

  3. First funeral on January 1, more bodies recovered

    The new year brings nothing but grief for the relatives of AirAsia Flight QZ8501: bad weather hampers the search for victims as relatives hold the first funeral for a female passenger. At the end of Day 5, 9 bodies have been retrieved in the search for the Airbus A320-200, which disappeared from radar during a storm Sunday. It was flying from Surayabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city, to Singapore. 162 people were onboard the plane.

    An analyst also says the missing emergency locator transmitter could show that the plane may have successfully landed on the water. Otherwise, the signal from the transmitter would be working.

    Read more on Rappler.

  4. What’s at stake in 2015

    Look back at 2014 at the events that had global impact and Rappler’s other yearenders, ranging from politics, sports, lifestyle and entertainment. Don’t miss our video look at 2014 through the lenses of technology and emotions, written and anchored by veteran journalist Maria Ressa.

    After you’ve relived the year that was, join Rappler’s Ayee Macaraig, who’s just returned from 3 months at the UN, as she outlines five key priorities to watch in 2015: from politics in the Philippines and around the world to climate change and development issues.  Add your voice to the clamor for change.

    Read more on Rappler.

  5. Al Jazeera urges Egpyt to release reporters

    On the first day of the year, Egypt’s high-court orders a retrial of 3 Al-Jazeera journalists who have been jailed in Egypt for more than a year.  Al-Jazeera’s acting director general welcomes the retrial but said the journalists had been “unjustly imprisoned” and called for their swift release.

    “Their arrest was political, the sentencing was political, and their being kept in prison is, for us, political,” he said on Al-Jazeera.

    Read more on Rappler.

  6. Filipinos ‘thriftier’ in 2014 – Nielsen

    Filipinos have long had a dismal savings rate, largely because most households are struggling to make ends meet, but that may be changing, according to global survey group, Nielsen. 2014 saw a sustained growth rate for the Philippines, and the trickle-down effect may be kicking in: Filipinos are saving more for the future, says Nielsen, for longer term goals like buying a house, starting a business or saving for their children.

    Three top concerns for the first half of 2015 are health, job security and work-life balance.

    Read more on Rappler.

  7. 55% of youths want Church out of political issues – survey

    A recently released survey in Asia’s largest Roman Catholic nation shows a majority of youths want the Church to stay out of political issues like reproductive health. Commissioned by a Church youth group (CBCP-ECY), the survey showed that young Filipino Catholics could be more religious than their parents – good news for the Catholic Church. But today’s millenials are far from passive – something that may take center stage during Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines in about two weeks.

    Read more about the survey on Rappler.

  8. Pope Francis’ message for the new year

    Peace, says Pope Francis, urging an end to war and conflict in his New Year’s Day message from the Vatican. It’s less than 2 weeks before Pope Francis visits the Philippines, where the median age is 23 years old. How will the Church evolve for a drastically changing world? Rappler compiled some of the best guidance from this quotable Pope in the age of Twitter: The Pope in 140

    Countdown the days, check his agenda and prepare to #ShowThePope with Rappler.

    Read more about his new year message.

  9. Sony hackers threaten US news media group – FBI

    Image from Shutterstock

    The FBI claimed the Sony hack was done by North Korea, but that has been questioned by experts.  North Korea has repeatedly denied it.  Now it looks like it may be an inside job. An FBI bulletin, first uploaded by the Intercept, says Sony’s hackers are threatening an unnamed American news organization and a Joint Intelligence Bulletin of the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security says it “may extend to other such organizations in the near future.” Still, the ripples continue.  A South Korean activist says he plans to launch a series of balloons that will carry about 100,000 copies of “The Interview” on DVDs and USB sticks across the border into North Korea.

    Read more about the new threat on Fox News and the South Korean activist on Rappler.

    Hacker image from Shutterstock

  10. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is married

    He’s an actor, director, screenwriter, producer and editor.  He’s also very private. He’s said little about his personal life and his fiancee.  Now in a secret wedding in his home on December 20, Joseph Gordon-Levitt marries Tasha McCauley, the founder and CEO of Fellow Robots, a Nasa-based robotics company.

    Read more and watch his video clips on Rappler.

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