Rappler Newscast | December 31, 2013

Rappler.com
More fireworks-related injuries expected as the new year arrives. PH allows texting and internet use on flights. Myanmar declares no more political prisoners.

Today on Rappler.

  • The health department braces for 50 to 80 injuries every hour as Filipinos welcome the new year. 
  • Philippine aviation officials allow passengers to text and connect to the internet during flights.
  • Myanmar declares no more political prisoners after a sweeping amnesty.


Story 1: NEW YEAR COUNTDOWN: 50-80 INJURIES HOURLY
The Department of Health or DOH braces for reports of 50 to 80 fireworks-related injuries every hour in the 12-hour period before and after New Year’s Eve.
As of Tuesday morning, the number of people hurt by fireworks or stray bullets reach 262 – and may breach last year’s final after-midnight tally.
Assistant Health Secretary Eric Tayag says the victims of early celebrations include an 8-year-old boy in Cebu City who lost his right hand because of a powerful firecracker and a 40-year-old woman in Manila with an accidental gun wound.
The DOH says 253 people are injured by fireworks, 8 hit by stray bullets, and 1 ingested firecrackers.
The department braces for more injuries as the Philippines greets the new year with noise and firecrackers.
Last year, two children were killed by stray bullets while more than 400 people were injured.
The deaths triggered widespread public calls for stricter gun controls.

Story 2: SOLDIERS WARNED AGAINST FIRING GUNS DURING NEW YEAR REVELRY
The Philippine army says it will strictly implement its policy against indiscriminate firing during the New Year celebrations.
In a statement, the army warns soldiers caught firing their weapons while welcoming 2014 may be demoted or dismissed from service.
Under Article 254 of the Revised Penal Code, violators also face jail time of up to 6 years.

Story 3: COMELEC ERRS IN SOCE DEFICIENCY OF 29 POLITICIANS
Rappler research shows the Commission on Elections made a mistake in singling out certain officials for failing to submit after-election documents.
The poll body earlier wanted to remove 424 elected officials from their posts because they failed to submit their statements of election contributions and expenses or SOCE on time.
According to documents recently uploaded to the Comelec website, at least 29 officials complied in June.
The 29 who submitted their reports on time included 4 district representatives.
Aside from them, 86 of those initially listed with SOCE deficiencies were considered fully compliant before the Christmas break.
Republic Act 7166 requires all candidates to submit their SOCEs 30 days after the polls.
But Justice Secretary Leila de Lima says the poll body could not remove elected officials with just a memorandum.

Story 4: PHILIPPINES ALLOWS PHONE USE ON PLANES
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines or CAAP says it will allow passengers to connect to the world via the internet and text messaging during flights. But phone calls are still banned as soon as doors of the plane close.
Old regulations allowed the use of electronic devices mid-flight without connectivity.
CAAP director general William Hotchkiss says the order covers “transmitting portable electronic devices.”
When the aircraft’s doors are still open, the following are allowed: use of laptops and cellular phones; Internet access; sending SMS or text messages; and, yes, voice calls.
When the aircraft is refuelling, all transmittable electronic devices shall be turned off; laptops using broadbands and use of cellular phones are strictly prohibited.
When the aircraft’s doors are closed, use of transmittable electronic devices are allowed on silent mode; sending SMS are allowed; Internet use is allowed; games can be played on silent mode; MP3s can be used with earphones; but voice calls are prohibited.
In October, the United States announced it will relax restrictions on the use of mobile devices on planes.
Concerns have been raised that allowing phone calls on flights may disturb other passengers.

Story 5: TWIN RUSSIA BLASTS EXPOSE OLYMPIC SECURITY THREAT
Successive bombings on a railway station and trolleybus in Russia prompt safety concerns as the Winter Olympics in Sochi draw near.
On Monday, a suspected suicide bombing strikes the city of Volgograd, killing at least 14 people.
This comes a day after a suspected female suicide bomber caused a massive explosion at the train station, killing at least 17 people.
CNN reports the explosions happened months after the leader of a Chechen separatist group promised to disrupt the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics that begin on February 7.
Russian President Vladimir Putin orders a probe and extra security measures in preparation for the event.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach condemns the bombings, and expresses confidence in Russian authorities “to deliver safe and secure Games in Sochi.”

Story 6: MYANMAR DECLARES ‘NO MORE POLITICAL PRISONERS’ AFTER AMNESTY
Myanmar says there will be no more political prisoners after a sweeping amnesty order.
Spokesman Ye Htut says President Thein Sein “fulfilled his promise” to free all dissidents by the end of the year.
On Monday, Myanmar says it will pardon those imprisoned under a series of controversial legislation – the Emergency Act used by the junta to imprison opponents.
Campaigners recently say some 40 dissidents are behind bars in Myanmar, while 200 people wait for trial.

Story 7: 19,000 INDONESIANS FLEE ERUPTING VOLCANO
More than 19,000 people leave their homes after a volcano in Indonesia shot lava into the air 9 times since Monday night.
Mount Sinabung on the western island of Sumatra sends hot rocks and ash 7,000 meters in the air Monday night and Tuesday morning.
Police and soldiers patrol the danger zone to evacuate people remaining in their homes.
Mount Sinabung erupted in September for the first time since 2010.

Story 8: STRONG CYCLONE HITS WESTERN AUSTRALIA
A powerful cyclone hits Australia’s west coast Tuesday, bringing torrential rains and destructive gales that ripped up trees and roofs and closed major global iron ore operations.
Tropical Cyclone Christine hits land as a category 3 storm, packing winds of over 170 kilometers per hour.
The cyclone weakens to a category 2, but a red alert remains up over towns in the storm’s path, including Port Hedland, Karratha and Dampier.

Story 9: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 3, 2013 is the year Asia’s economic powerhouses made their way into space.
South Korea placed its first satellite in orbit, Japan launched a new three-stage rocket and India sent a probe to Mars.
China led the pack, carrying out a manned trip as a prelude to assembling a space station by 2020.
Analysts praise the feats, but they also warn about a potential intra-Asian space rivalry.
The biggest worry: militarization of space.
Analysts say the United States and Russia are starting to perceive China as a potential threat.

At number 4, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Zhang Yimou faces fines and public criticism for violating China’s strict family planning rules.
CNN reports Zhang admitted to having three children with his wife, breaking the rule limiting urban couples to one child.
Zhang’s case comes as China recently adopted new rules loosening the strict one-child policy.
Zhang, known for the Oscar-nominated film “Raise the Red Lantern,” gets criticism from netizens who resent how the rich and famous in China defy rules and policies.

At number 9, German driver Michael Schumacher’s love for speed haunts him today – after skiing on unmarked slopes in France led to a serious head injury.
On Sunday, he fell on the slopes and hit his head on a rock.
As a Formula One racer, the seven-time champion is known for his daring maneuvers and willingness to take huge risks.
After the accident, doctors keep Schumacher in a medically induced coma to improve healing.
Doctors report a slight improvement in his condition after a second surgery.
Traumatic brain injury causes the brain to swell, but it causes more pressure on the brain.

And at number 10, Apple CEO Tim Cook cuts $4 million of his pay because of Apple’s underperforming stock price.
CNN reports Apple decided to align Cook’s pay with the company’s performance in the S&P 500 index.
In its filing, Apple says the decision was made out of a –quote– “strong desire to set a leadership example in the area of CEO compensation and governance.”
Apple’s stock fell 26% between August 2012 and August 2013, forcing Cook to forfeit 50% of his stock grants at risk.
The stock grants were worth $4 million.

– Rappler.com

Newscast Production Staff

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER / WRITER Lilibeth Frondoso
DIRECTOR Rupert Ambil
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER / PUBLISHER Rodneil Quiteles
  Dindin Reyes
HEAD WRITER / PROMPTER Katerina Francisco
MASTER EDITOR / PLAYBACK Vicente Roxas
  Exxon Ruebe
  Jom Tolentino
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR / CAMERAMAN Charlie Salazar
  Adrian Portugal
  Francis Lopez
  Naoki Mengua
GRAPHICS Jessica Lazaro
  Matthew Hebrona
3D GRAPHICS Sten Bautista

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