Armed robbers in Mexico steal $2.5 million in gold coins

Robie de Guzman   •   August 7, 2019   •   444

Courtesy: Reuters

Armed robbers broke into a Mexican government coin manufacturer on Tuesday (August 06) and filled a backpack with more than $2 million worth of gold coins from a vault that had been left open, security officials said.

The daylight robbery was the latest high-profile crime to hit Mexico City, where crime has increased during record lawlessness plaguing the country.

Two people, one wielding a firearm, broke into a “Casa de Moneda” branch in the morning after throwing a security guard to the ground and taking his gun, Mexico City police said.

One of the robbers then went to the vault, which was open, and filled a backpack with 1,567 gold coins, police said.

The coins, known as “centenarios,” have a face value of 50 pesos, but trade for 31,500 pesos ($1,610) apiece, according to Mexican bank Banorte. That makes the total value of the haul at least $2.5 million.

The coin was first minted in 1921 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Mexico’s independence from Spain, according to the central bank.

Production was suspended in 1931, but the coin was re-minted beginning in 1943 due to demand for gold coins.

One side bears Mexico’s coat of arms, with an eagle perched atop a cactus, and the other features the capital’s iconic Angel of Independence monument backed by the majestic Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl volcanoes.

The coins, 37 mm (1.46 inches) in diameter, have a gold fineness of 0.900, or 90% purity.

Mexico is suffering from record murder levels that have made the capital, long regarded as a relatively safe haven, increasingly prone to violent crime. (REUTERS)

(Production: Alberto Fajardo)

Lifesaver: How to treat fireworks-related burns and injuries

Robie de Guzman   •   December 31, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The government has been calling on the public to ditch fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices for safer noise-maker alternatives to avoid any injuries during the celebration of the holidays.

However, there are some people who just can’t help themselves from setting those firecrackers off so UNTV’s Lifesaver program has prepared first-aid tips on how to treat burns and injuries related to the use of fireworks.

Lifesaver program host, UNTV News and Rescue Manager Benedict Galazan, said there are different first aid treatments for different types of fireworks accidents.

He, however, stressed that these are only temporary measures as victims should be immediately rushed to the nearest hospital.

Here are the first-aid tips:

  • For first degree burns, the burned or injured area should be washed under cool running water for 10 to 15 minutes to ease the pain and remove traces of chemical powder.
  • Cover the burned area using a clean cloth and, if necessary, immediately bring the victim to the hospital.

First-degree burns are considered mild and result in pain and reddening of the skin.

  • For second degree burns, run cool water on the wound for 10 to 15 minutes to stop the bleeding and ease the pain.
  • Cover the wound with a clean cloth or plastic wrap then bring the victim to the nearest hospital.

Second-degree burns affect the epidermis and lower layer of the skin and may cause pain, redness, and blistering.

When blistering occurs, the swollen area of the skin should not be popped.

“‘Yung mga blister o paltos ay huwag puputukin. Kasi iyan po ang pinaka-defense mechanism ng katawan ‘yan na kapag may heat na naramdaman ang katawan, magpo-produce siya ng liquid para ‘yun din ang makatulong sa pagcool-down ng burn,” Galazan said.

  • For third-degree burns, run the wound on cool water for 10 to 15 minutes to stop the bleeding and ease the pain.
  • Carefully put pressure on the injured area to control the bleeding.
  • Do NOT apply toothpaste, cream or any oil-based ointment to the wound or burn.
  • Cover the injured area with a clean cloth or plastic wrap then bring the victim to the hospital.

Third-degree burns affect the dermis and deeper skin tissues and may result in white or blackened, charred skin that may be numb.

  • For injured fingers, hands and other limbs, Lifesaver advises to run the injured part under cool water. Do NOT use ice.
  • If the fingers are still intact, run it as well on cool water.
  • If some fingers or other body parts are dismembered or lost, apply pressure using a tourniquet or any device (bandage and stick, rope or belt) to a limb or extremity to limit – but not stop – the flow of blood.
  • Also, try to look for the dismembered finger, and wrap them in a clean cloth. Place them inside a sealed plastic bag and put it in ice.
  • Bring the victim and the dismembered body part to the nearest hospital.

Dismembered limbs need to be brought with the victim to the hospital as these may still be reattached through surgery.

  • For eye injuries, flush the affected eye with cool water to remove any traces of firecracker powder.
  • Do NOT scratch or touch the injured eye.
  • If it is bleeding, use gauze or a paper cup to cover and protect the injured eye. Be careful not to put pressure on the eye.
  • Bring the patient to the nearest hospital

For ingestion or firecracker or its powder, here are the first aid tips:

  • Let the patient drink raw egg whites. Health experts recommend six to eight egg whites to a child and eight to 12 to an adult.
  • The patient should not attempt to throw up the ingested firecracker to prevent further damage.
  • Bring the victim to the nearest hospital.

Remember, if the wound is larger than the size of the palm of the hand, immediately bring the victim to the nearest hospital or call emergency medical services such as 8-911-UNTV.

Watch the episode of Lifesaver below for more first aid tips on firecracker burns:

– RRD (Correspondent Harlene Delgado contributed to this report)

Kin of UNTV News crew members slain in Ampatuan Massacre cherish victory

Marje Pelayo   •   December 19, 2019

Filipinos Juliet Evardo (R) and Editha Tiamson (2-R), relatives of victims of the Maguindanao massacre, enter a prison facility to attend the on-going hearing at a maximum security prison in Taguig, south of Manila, Philippines, on 25 May 2011.

MANILA, Philippines – The relatives of the four UNTV News crew members slain in the Ampatuan Massacre expressed relief after the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 rendered its verdict to the suspects in the gruesome murder of 32 journalists and 26 other individuals on November 23, 2009.

For them, the pains that they endured for more than a decade have somehow been relieved after they heard that the primary suspects who were members of a powerful clan in Mindanao – the Ampatuans – are placed behind bars.

After the promulgation of the case earlier Thursday (December 19), they were able to smile in between tears, not in grief, but in complete joy.

Erlyn Umpad, the partner of UNTV cameraman Mc Delbert Arriola, was emotional after hearing the guilty verdict.

“Habang binabasa na ang mga pangalan ng convicted, ang luha namin (While the names of the convicted were being read, we were in tears),” Erlyn said.

“Ang saya. Sabi ko: “Salamat sa Dios!” kasi dininig Niya ang panalangin namin (We’re relieved and happy. I whispered: “Thank God!” He listened to our prayers),” she added.

UNTV Correspondent Victor Nuñez’ mother Catherine Nuñez also couldn’t hold back her tears.

“Nagkaiyakan dahil sa saya na nakuha namin ang hustisya na minimithi namin (We all cried because finally we were able to get justice,)” she said.

Editor Jolito Evardo’s brother Desiderio Evardo said what he feels now is unexplainable.

“Ako po, kung may masaya pa, pinakamasaya. Ngunit wala nang ibang saya na natanggap ko (I’m the happiest. No amount of happiness can exceed what I feel right now),” Evardo said.

Meanwhile, Editha Tiamzon has nothing but a feeling of gratitude to all who supported them on the course of their fight for justice.

Editha is the widow of UNTV Driver Daniel Tiamzon.

“Kami pong apat sa UNTV, saka ang mga kasama namin, kay Atty. Harry Roque, buong puso pong nagpapasalamat sa buong Pilipinas dahil po sa suporta ninyo (The four of us thank UNTV and Atty. Harry Roque and the entire Philippines for the support),” said Editha.

Despite today’s Court decision, Roque said they will continue to pursue further justice to all other victims as the ‘trial of the century’ continues. – MNP (with inputs from Harlene Delgado)

Victims kin welcome verdict but Ampatuan Massacre still far from over – Rep. Mangudadatu

Marje Pelayo   •   December 19, 2019

Former Maguindanao Governor and current Congressman Esmael Mangudadatu (3-R) together with relatives of victims gesture to the media after the promulgation of the Maguindanao massacre at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, Philippines, 19 December 2019. EPA-EFE/MARK CRISTINO

MANILA, Philippines – The Quezon City Regional Trial Court has ordered conviction of the more than forty individuals involved in the mass murder of 58 individuals in 2009, the worst political massacre and the single deadliest attack against journalists in the world – the Ampatuan Massacre.

A total of 32 journalists were among the victims of the crime.

For their loved ones, Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes has ended their agonizing quest for justice by finally placing behind bars those who were responsible for the gruesome massacre.

“Talagang mahirap ang sampung taon na iyon. Ang tagal noon. Ilang years iyon na tiniis na walang conviction pa (Those 10 long years were agonizing. For so many years we suffered as there was no conviction),” noted Karen Araneta, wife of radio reporter Henry Araneta.

“Today, happy na ako talaga (Today, I am more than happy),” she said.

“Umiyak kami. Apat na taga UNTV. Alam namin na nakamit ng mga asawa namin, ng mga kasama nila ang justice na hinahanap naming (We cried. Four from UNTV. We know that our spouses and their colleagues have finally found the justice we’re looking for),” expressed Editha Tiamzon, the wife of UNTV Vehicle’s driver Daniel Tiamzon when asked about her initial reaction upon hearing the verdict.

Jergin Malabanan couldn’t hold back her emotions as finally, their efforts have now been paid off.

“Ma, ito na iyon. Ito na ang hustisya na matagal na nating hinihintay (Mom, this is it. This is the justice that we have long been waiting for),” she said in between sobs for her mother, slain journalist Gina dela Cruz.

“Ito na ang (bunga) ng mga sakripisyo, ng ilang taon na ipinaglalaban naming (This is now the fruit of our sacrifices, of the many years that we fought for),” she added.

The victims’ legal counsel Atty. Harry Roque said the bereaved families were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief and seem satisfied with the outcome of the trial.

“Nagagalak po ang mga pamilya, lima sa pitong Ampatuan ay nahusgahan na nagkasala,” Roque said.

“Natutuwa sila na ang parusa ay habambuhay na pagkakakulong without benefit of allowance of good conduct,” he added.

Four UNTV crew members were among those killed in the massacre – reporter Victor Nuñez; cameraman Mc Delbert Ariola; editor Jolito Evardo; and driver Daniel Tiamzon.

READ: Dispositive portion of Ampatuan massacre case ruling

Based on the 761-page Court decision, the families of the victims will receive a certain amount in civil indemnity and monetary damages.

Despite the conviction, the families are planning to appeal on the civil aspect of the case.

Meanwhile, Maguindanao Rep. Esmael ‘Toto’ Mangudadatu who lost his wife and siblings in the massacre, said the fight is still far from over because what the Court rendered today was only a partial decision on the case and some of the accused may still appeal the ruling to the higher courts.

“Matagal pa ito kasi may Court of Appeals, may Supreme Court (This is still far from over because there is still the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court),” he said.

“May second phase pa ang 50 at may mga at large pang 81 (This will have a second phase because there are 81 other suspects to remain at large),” he added. – MNP (with inputs from Nel Maribojoc)


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