Rappler Newscast | January 7, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- Fishermen recover a US drone in waters off the central Philippines.
- After a series of shootings President Aquino needs more time to consider a total gun ban law.
- The Philippine stock exchange breaks the 6,000 level.
Story 1: POLICE: US DRONE CRASHES OFF MASBATE
Fishermen recover a US drone in waters off the central Philippines Sunday.
Police and naval authorities say locals found the 12-foot drone floating off Masbate island and dragged it to shore.
The drone, model BQM-74E Chukar III, was found near San Jacinto, Masbate.
Philippine Navy Captain Rommel Galang says “it appears to be an unmanned aerial vehicle or AUV used in reconnaissance.”
He says it had inscriptions and a serial number that "indicate it is an American drone".
But US embassy spokesperson Tina Malone disagrees.
She says the drone is quote -- not armed and not used for surveillance” but is “used as an air defense target in training exercises."
She adds they are still trying to confirm the nature of the drone and how it got there.
The US has been training the Philippine military to use unmanned drones against terrorists in Mindanao.
In an interview with AFP last year, President Benigno Aquino confirmed the Philippines allows US drones to overfly its territory for reconnaissance flights, but are not allowed to make strikes.
Since 2002, About 600 US forces have been on tours of duty to the southern Philippines as part of the US government's global war on terror.
Masbate, where the drone was found, is hundreds of kilometres from the terrorist areas.
US troops do not operate there.
But communists rebels waging a decades-old insurgency operate in Masbate.
Which prompts the question: Are US drones being used against communist rebels?
Story 2: MALACAÑANG ON GUN BAN LAW: 'PNOY NEEDS MORE TIME'
Despite increased clamor for tighter gun control laws after violent shootings last week, Malacanang says more time is needed to study any change to the law.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte says the President needs more time to study proposals on a total gun ban law that would restrict gun ownership to the police, military, and security professionals.
USEC. ABIGAIL VALTE, DEPUTY PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON: It depends on what the contents of that law will be. Kasi when you say comprehensive firearms law, to our mind, that would involve everything from the importation—rules for importation, rules for procurement, for requirements, etcetera. So we will have to see what is in that proposal for a comprehensive firearms law.
She also responds to questions whether the President - a known gun enthusiast - will support the bill.
USEC. ABIGAIL VALTE, DEPUTY PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON: First, let’s not pigeonhole the President. Huwag po nating pangunahan ‘yung Pangulo. In the past marami pong nagsasabi na ‘ah, si PNoy ito ‘yung gagawin niya kasi tingin natin ganito ‘yung preference niya’. But allow me to say that the President has defied perception so many times in the past.
There are only nine session days left before Congress adjourns on February 9.
But House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte says the Lower House has time to tackle gun control legislation.
Belmonte says the lower house will take up pending bills calling for stricter gun control in the country and hopes to finish debates before Congress adjourns for the campaign period.
There are around twenty pending gun control bills in Congress.
Story 3: PNP: COPS AMONG 'GANG MEMBERS' SLAIN
A day after a shootout between a criminal gang and police at a checkpoint near the town of Atimonan, a police official says at least 3 of the 13 alleged gang members killed are members of the Philippine National Police.
Calabarzon regional police director Supt. James Melad identifies one of the slain suspects as Supt. Alfredo Consamino.
The two other policemen are believed to be Gruet Mantuano and PO1 Jeffrey Valdez.
All three work at Mimaropa or the Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan police office.
Melad says the 3 slain policemen were in the vehicle with the alleged gang members that started firing at policemen.
He adds, "When they got to the checkpoint, instead of submitting their firearms, they fired at our policemen."
Story 4: PH STOCK MARKET BREACHES 6,000 LEVEL
After much anticipation, the Philippine Stock Exchange breaks the 6,000 level, kicking off what many analysts are calling a ‘good year’ for the Philippine economy.
On Monday, just ten minutes after the market opens, the main PSE index hits 6,001.17 points - an indicator of positive movement in the prices of stocks.
The PSE index later closes at 6,044.91, up by 1.23 percent or 73 points from Friday’s closing.
The stock exchange posts four record highs in the first four trading days of the year.
Optimism is fueling investors’ appetite for stocks, backed by the US ‘fiscal cliff’ deal, the launch of the European Central Bank’s bond-buying program, and continued investor confidence in the Philippine economy.
Story 5: MYANMAR GETS STEAMED UP BY SEX ED MAGAZINE
A glossy magazine with pouting models and racy romance tips in Myanmar sparks debates in the conservative nation.
Since hitting Myanmar's bookstores in November, the magazine has become a must-read among the young and curious.
The magazine earns an adult-rating.
Its editor brushes off accusations the publication is too indecent for the country, saying "this magazine is a combination of sex education and entertainment."
Story 6: EX-CIA OFFICIAL: BIN LADEN FILM TORTURE FICTION
A former CIA official says bloody interrogations like those depicted in a movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden never really happened.
Former CIA official Jose Rodriguez says no one was bloodied or beaten in the interrogation program he supervised from 2002 to 2007.
In a Washington Post article, Rodriguez says the torture scenes in the film "Zero Dark Thirty" are pure fiction.
The movie tells the story of the decade-long search for Bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks and the dramatic raid in May 2011 on his hideout in Pakistan.
It begins with a scene showing the torture of detainees, who provide critical information for locating bin Laden.
But Rodriguez says the filmmakers got the dog-collar scenes from the abuses committed by Army personnel at Abu Ghraib in Iraq.
He adds, “No such thing was ever done at CIA 'black sites."
Story 7: JAPAN SCIENTISTS: GIANT SQUID FILMED IN PACIFIC DEPTHS
Japanese scientists and broadcasters say they have footage of an elusive giant squid up to eight meters or 26 feet long that roams the depths of the Pacific Ocean.
Japan's National Science Museum succeeds in filming the deep-sea creature in its natural habitat for the first time, working with Japanese public broadcaster NHK and the US Discovery Channel.
They spot the squid at a depth of 630 meters using a submersible in July, some 15 kilometers east of Chichi island in the north Pacific Ocean.
NHK shows footage of the silver-colored creature, which has huge black eyes.
It swims against the current, holding a bait squid in its arms against the backdrop of dark oceanic depths.
Story 8: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 4, Clark International Airport records a 71% increase in international and domestic passengers in 2012 compared to 2011, making it the country’s fastest growing airport.
It accounts for 1.3 million passengers, many of them taking advantage of budget travel.
Clark International CEO Victor Jose Luciano says growth is expected to be sustained in 2013 as connectivity to Metro Manila is improved.
At number 5, the World Food Program says hunger, ranked No. 1 on the list of the world’s Top 10 health risks, is also “the world’s greatest solvable problem.”
The World Health Organization says hunger killed more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
The Food and Agriculture Organization says 870 million people around the world suffer from hunger yet the world produces sufficient food for all.
At number 7, The 5 men charged with the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old medical student will appear in court for the first time on Monday.
If convicted, they will face the death penalty and will be charged with kidnapping, robbery and conspiracy.
Police say they have DNA evidence to link the 5 to the killing.
A sixth accused, aged 17, will be tried in a court for juveniles.
The men allegedly took turns raping the student and attacking her boyfriend with an iron bar.
At number 8, A defiant President Bashar al-Assad addresses Syrians in a rare public speech and proposes a new constitution and cabinet to resolve the country’s 21-month uprising.
He ignores the opposition’s demand for him to step down and instead justified his military crackdown.
Assad says, “Everyone who comes to Syria knows that Syria accepts advice but not orders.”
Assad’s speech comes after last week’s visit by United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who tried to push for a negotiated solution to the conflict.
Human rights groups say more than 600,000 people died in protests that sought to remove Assad from office.
And at number 10, astronomers say two rogue asteroids and two comets will blaze across the skies this new year.
The asteroid 99942 Apophis is huge enough to deliver the equivalent of more than 25,000 Hiroshima bombs if it ever smashed into Earth.
But NASA says there is a “tiny chance of an impact” on Earth on April 13, 2036.
On February 15, Asteroid 2012 DA14 will be so close, amateur astronomers will be able to watch it.
Comet 2011 L4 or PANSTARRS, will be at its brightest from March 8 to 12...
and Comet ISON could become visible to the naked eye by late November.
It last returned to Earth about 10 million years ago.
Newscast production staff
|EXECUTIVE PRODUCER / WRITER||Lilibeth Frondoso|
|ASSOCIATE PRODUCER / PUBLISHER||Rodneil Quiteles|
|HEAD WRITER / PROMPTER||Katerina Francisco|
|MASTER EDITOR / PLAYBACK||Vicente Roxas|
|TECHNICAL DIRECTOR / CAMERAMAN||Charlie Salazar|