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Phuket Media Watch – Death toll nears 1,000 in the Philippines

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Media Watch – Death toll nears 1,000 in the Philippines | The Thaiger
PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Death toll nears 1,000 after Tropical Storm Sendong hits the Philippines
Phuket Gazette

The death toll after Tropical Storm Sendong hit the southeastern Philippines over the weekend has surpassed 950, emergency officials said on Tuesday morning. Dozens more remain missing.

Sendong made landfall over the northeastern region of Mindanao island late Friday, causing heavy rains, flash floods and landslides. Most of the fatalities were reported in the Northern Mindanao Region, which rarely experiences tropical cyclones, although dozens were also killed in the nearby Visayas island group.

Benito Ramos, the Executive Director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), said 957 people have been confirmed to have been killed as of Tuesday morning. He said at least 49 others remain missing and 1,582 people have been reported to be injured.

The vast majority of bodies were found in Cagayan de Oro, the capital city of Misamis Oriental province, where 579 fatalities were reported. At least 279 people were killed in Illigan City, a highly urbanized industrial city in Lanao del Norte province.

According to authorities, people were warned about the risk of flash floods, especially in areas near rivers, but many refused to leave their homes and were sleeping when the disaster struck. The military has been assisting in search-and-rescue efforts and has flown helicopters to locate missing and trapped victims.

According to the NDRRMC, at least 338,415 people have been affected by the storm, although the actual number is likely to be far higher. The agency said 42,733 people were inside the 62 evacuation centers as of Tuesday morning, while 241,877 others are being assisted outside evacuation centers.

Tropical storm “Washi“, will have virtually no effect on the weather here in Phuket however, residents of Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Trang and Satun provinces could experience unseasonable rainfall over the next two days .

— Phuket Gazette Editors



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Technology

Twitter and Facebook work to block anti-vax misinformation

The Thaiger

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Twitter and Facebook work to block anti-vax misinformation | The Thaiger

If you search for the word ‘vaccines’ in Twitter, the first thing you see from today is a post from the US Department of Health and Human Services pointing you to reliable health information instead of misinformation from the anti-vax adherents.

Twitter says it now has a new tool in ‘search’ prompting users to head to vaccines.org, which is run by informed officials and health professionals. Social media companies like Facebook and Twitter are facing intense pressure from lawmakers to remove anti-vaccination propaganda from their platforms. The push-back is coming from officials and netizens.

The tool shows up on Android, iOS, Twitter’s mobile site, and on the newly designed desktop site in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and Korea – more countries soon.

Twitter has used a similar tool that prompts users who search for terms related to suicide to contact a hotline for help. According to the blog post, Twitter intends to extend this tool to other health-related search terms in the future.

Last week, it was announced that Instagram would hide search results for anti-vax hashtags on its platform, effectively blocking any associated content. Two months ago Facebook announced it would also work to curb vaccine misinformation.

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World

Conservative Liberal coalition wins Australian election

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Conservative Liberal coalition wins Australian election | The Thaiger

(For US readers, ‘Liberal’ is the name of the main conservative party in Australian, not to be confused with the way the term ‘liberal’ is used in American politics)

Australia’s ruling Liberal conservative party coalition has defied polls to hold onto power in the Australian national election yesterday.

While it remains unclear if PM ScottMorrison’s Liberal party and their country-based National party coalition partners will win enough seats to form a majority government, the leader of the opposition Labor party, Bill Shorten conceded defeat shortly before midnight.

“In the national interest, a short while ago I called Scott Morrison to congratulate him.”

Shorten also announced he would stand down as leader of his party in the wake of its poll-defying defeat. The result was another monumental upset and a failure by pollsters who had been predicting a comfortable victory for Labor after six years in opposition.

Australia has compulsory voting and a complex preferential voting system, with big political, economic and cultural shifts from state to state. Australia has six states and two territories, once separate British colonies and now federated as the Commonwealth of Australia since 1901.

Morrison, who just weeks ago looked set for an electoral drubbing, is taking the plaudits for the turn-around win. Turning the polls on their head, he had been fated to enter the history books as one of the most short-lived prime ministers in Australian history.

But he closed the gap with a negative campaign and backing from the country’s largest media organisation, owned by Rupert Murdoch (who also owns Fox News in the US) , targeting older, wealthier voters concerned over Labor plans to cut various tax loopholes in order to fund spending on education, healthcare and climate initiatives.

In northern Sydney, former PM Tony Abbott, who once described climate change as “crap”, lost a seat he has held for a quarter century to independent challenger Zali Steggall, a lawyer and Olympic medallist in Alpine skiing.

SOURCES: News.com.au | AFP

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Hot News

Boeing knew about problems with 737 Max 8 jets before second crash

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Boeing knew about problems with 737 Max 8 jets before second crash | The Thaiger

PHOTO: American Airlines

They knew because plenty of pilots told them, on tape.

In the months between the two Boeing 737 Max airplane crashes, pilots from American Airlines confronted a Boeing official about the controversial MCAS computerised anti-stall system that preliminary reports have now implicated in both deadly wrecks. The audio of the meeting has been obtained by the US’ CBS News.

(MCAS stands for Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System)

The meeting was held just weeks after the Lion Air 737 Max 8 crash in October when it plunged into the Java Sea just after take off in Jakarta. It was also four months prior to the 737 Max 8 operated by Ethiopian Air when it crashed in Ethiopia.

In the recording an unidentified Boeing official is heard telling pilots that software changes were on the way but that the company “didn’t want to hurry the process”.

The American Airlines pilots told the official they weren’t aware of the new  737 Max 8’s software-controlled stability program, MCAS.

A pilot calls out in the recording… “We flat out deserve to know what is on our airplanes.”

Referring to the pilots in the ill-fated Lion Air flight… “These guys didn’t even know the damn system was on the airplane. Nor did anybody else.”

The Boeing official then defends the situation saying… “I don’t know that understanding this system would have changed the outcome of this. In a million miles you’re going to maybe fly this airplane and maybe once you’re going to see this ever.”

The New York Times has reported on the November 27 meeting between the American pilots and Boeing staff earlier this week, citing recordings of the meeting.

Boeing has not made any official comment about the release of the audio.

All Boeing’s 737 Max 8 and 9 model aircraft have been grounded worldwide following the Ethiopian Air crash in March. 346 people were killed in the two crashes.

Boeing has not received any orders, for any of its planes, in the wake of the controversy.

According to CNN, the US aircraft manufacturer recently revealed that it knew as early as 2017, a year before the Lion Air disaster, that it was aware an indicator linked to the sensors was not functional in many 737 Max model aircraft. It said  it had planned to deploy a fix in a regularly scheduled software update.

The New York Times reports that one of the American Airlines pilot in the November 27 meeting, Todd Wissing, said… “I would think that there would be a priority of putting explanations of things that could kill you.”

SOURCE: The New York Times

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