Archive for December 22nd, 2011

More ‘Sendong’ bodies recovered from as far as Bohol–NDRRMC exec

MANILA, Philippines — More bodies washed into seas reaching as far as Bohol province by floods triggered by Tropical storm “Sendong” are still being recovered, Undersecretary Benito Ramos of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Thursday in an exclusive interview with Radyo Inquirer 990AM.

“Three additional boats of the Philippine Navy from Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao are helping to scour the waters of Macajalar bay between Cagayan de Oro and Bohol. We have recovered bodies near Bohol, bodies have drifted that far,” Ramos said.

“With the help of citizens, many pump boats and fishing boats [are] looking for missing people,” Ramos added.

Ramos said that the search operations would continue until there would be no more bodies to be found.

More than a thousand lives were lost when Sendong (international name Washi) caused flashfloods that wiped away entire villages near rivers in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan Cities in Mindanao.

Ramos said that 90 percent of the casualties came from areas near the rivers.

There has been a direct order from President Benigno Aquino III to evict all people living in those flood-prone areas, Ramos said.

Mayors are looking for relocation sites, which should be government property so that the evacuees won’t become squatters, Ramos said.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is ready to support the building of core shelters for the people, which may take up to three months, Ramos said. 🙄

Read also:

‘Sendong’ disaster foretold 3 years ago

‘Sendong’ death toll passes 900 as cities prepare burials

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Facebook rapped in Europe over privacy

DUBLIN—Facebook has to better explain to users what happens to their personal data and give them more control, the data commissioner in Ireland, home to the website’s international headquarters, said Wednesday.

Facebook must work towards “simpler explanations of its privacy policies (and) … easier accessibility and prominence of these policies,” the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) said.

It called on the US firm behind the popular website, which helps its some 800 million users worldwide keep in touch with friends and exchange information, to provide “an enhanced ability for users to make their own informed choices.”

The DPC report, compiled after a three-month “audit” and available at http://www.dataprotection.ie/docs/Home/4.htm, also called on Facebook to allow users to delete permanently old messages, friend requests, pokes, tags and posts.

Facebook’s indefinite retention of information of what adverts users had clicked on was also “unacceptable,” it said. Facebook said in response it would “move immediately to a two-year retention period.”

The watchdog also said that Facebook’s implementation of its facial recognition feature, allowing users to identify or “tag” people in photos, should have been handled “in a more appropriate manner.”

It also said it was “inappropriate” for Facebook to hold data collected from “social plug-ins” — the “like” button — other than “for a very short period and for very limited purposes.”

It said Facebook should provide within 40 days all information it holds on a particular user or non-user if requested to do so.

The DPC conducted the audit, aimed at determining whether Facebook complied with Irish and by extension European Union law, because Facebook Ireland is the entity with which non-US and non-Canadian users have a contract, the DPC said.

It followed a string of complaints by an Austrian student called Max Schrems who rose to prominence with his “Europe-versus-Facebook” pressure group, as well as the Norwegian Consumer Council and other individuals.

Schrems, 24, had launched his campaign after being shocked to receive from Facebook, in response to a demand for all the data it held on him, 1,222 pages of information, he told AFP earlier this year.

“At first sight the report seems to be a first victory over Facebook’s ignorance towards privacy laws,” Europe-versus-Facebook said on its website http://www.europe-v-facebook.org/EN/en.html.

Co-founded by Mark Zuckerberg when he too was a student, Facebook said in response that the DPC had “highlighted several opportunities to strengthen our existing practices.”

“Facebook has committed to either implement, or to consider, other ‘best practice’ improvements recommended by the DPC, even in situations where our practices already comply with legal requirements,” it said in a statement available at http://www.facebook.com/facebookpublicpolicyeurope.

Facebook has been under rising regulatory scrutiny as the Palo Alto, California-based firm has tried to turn the massively popular site into a profitable business ahead of a possible stock market listing.

On November 30 it agreed with the US Federal Trade Commission to tighten its privacy policies after the FTC found it had deceived users by for example making personal data that it had vowed to keep private available to advertisers.

DPC deputy commissioner Gary Davis said that because Facebook Ireland was only given responsibility for international users in September 2010, it “should not come as a surprise… that there should be room for improvement.”

“Facebook is constantly evolving and adapting in response to user needs and technical developments,” the DPC said.

“Indeed the almost Darwinian nature of the site means that there will constantly be an absolute need to have in place robust mechanisms to keep pace with the innovation that is the source of the site’s success.”

The DPC said a formal review of progress would take place in July. In theory Facebook could be fined up to 100,000 euros ($130,520) if it refuses to comply with the body’s recommendations, but this is seen as highly unlikely. 🙄

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Philippine economy faces growth threats in 2012

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine economy is facing major risks from abroad that could limit its growth prospects next year, the central bank governor said Wednesday.

Although the country enjoys “sound macro economic fundamentals,” and strong domestic demand, the economy could still be hurt by developments in Europe, the United States and China, central bank governor Amando Tetangco said.

“The 2012 global economic outlook has deteriorated,” he said, warning that there would be more volatility and uncertainty that could affect the Philippines.

“Although economic growth has slowed, we have not seen a contraction” in 2011, he told a forum of foreign correspondents.

The economy grew by 3.6 percent in the first nine months of the year, though the government maintained its full-year target of 4.5-5.5 percent, pinning its hope on a $1.66 billion state spending program launched in October.

Next year’s official growth target is 5-6 percent.

Tetangco said fears of an escalating debt crisis in Europe, the continuing weak US labor market and the risk of a slowdown in China could weigh on Philippine growth prospects in 2012.

They could result in a drop in trade, investment and official aid, he said, warning that even earnings from the country’s booming outsourcing industry and the remittances of nine million Filipino workers overseas could be affected. 🙄

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Thursday night’s the longest night

It’s winter solstice and the country will experience the longest night Thursday.

The sun will reach the winter solstice Thursday afternoon (Philippine time), and will lie at its farthest point south of the equator, paving the way for the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere, including the Philippines.

Thursday night will last for at least 12 hours and 44 minutes, said Dario dela Cruz, chief of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration’s space sciences and astronomy section.

“The night will be more than an hour longer,” he said in an interview.

The sun sets at around 5:32 p.m. Thursday, and rises at around 6:16 a.m. Friday.

The winter solstice marks the onset of winter in northern hemisphere and summer in the southern hemisphere. 🙄


“Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to the bigger change that are to come”

“Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to the bigger change that are to come”
Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese?