Santa Barbara is located near the foot of the mountains and locals are often left with no other choice but to immediately retreat when a wildfire erupts.
In the north of Santa Barbara where the wildfire broke out on Dec 4, mountains stretch over 1,200 meters with no place for setting up any separation zone — making it rather difficult for anyone to stay in the vicinity.
Despite the ongoing winter holidays and upcoming celebrations, no one has been seen either along the west coast of the county — known for one of its popular beach resorts.
Hundred and ninety-two roads passing through Santa Barbara have been completely closed down. As of Tuesday morning, only 20 percent of the raging fire was brought under control, according to the local fire department.
But the wall of flames of the Thomas fire on Tuesday afternoon was about 200 yards away from and inching closer to expensive mansions in Montecito, one of the richest communities in the United States.
“It has burned down to some beautiful homes. We are asking residents to have defensible space, have a plan. When we ask you to evacuate it is for your own safety. We have already had one fatality very early on in the fire and we don’t want to lose any more people. I am happy to report that we haven’t had any more civilian injuries or deaths,” said California fire department spokesman Captain Steve Concialdi.
The Thomas fire, which broke out on Dec. 4 near the community of Ojai, has since spread 27 miles to become the fifth largest blaze in state history. It has blackened more than 366 square miles in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, an area larger than New York City.
“It’s pretty devastating. I mean, I’ve lived here for 25 years, been through quite a few fires, and this one I think has surpassed all those other experiences in terms of the devastation and the impact it’s had on the area. And there air, it’s just been phenomenal,” said Frank Palmieri, a bookkeeper from the city.
There’s bad stuff in the air. And, you don’t know what it’s doing to your body, so [I’m] wearing a mask now. But it feels awful, headaches, I get a little nauseous,” said Jamey Geston, a student at Santa Barbara City College.
Officials said that while the conflagration charred another 2,500 acres overnight, a break in the hot, dry Santa Ana winds on Tuesday sapped its forward momentum and allowed crews to prevent further damage to homes.
PH to withdraw participation in all US-led expeditions
In his remark during the 39th commencement exercises for Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA), President Rodrigo Duterte said that the country will no longer participate in all US-led wars.
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a halt on the country’s participation in all expeditions led by the United States (US).
According to the President, the country has nothing to benefit from those missions.
The Chief Executive cited as an example the Philippines’ participation in the United States’ efforts to free Kuwait from the control of Iraq during the Gulf war in 1991.
The Philippines sent Filipino troops to help in the war that freed Kuwait, but the President lamented, the now independent Arab nation allows the abuse of Filipino workers there.
“I am addressing America right now, whatever expeditions that you will conduct, any wars that you will fight in any countries, count us out. We benefit nothing all these years of sacrifice except brutality,” said Duterte.
The President also noted that the Philippines can stand on its own; further arguing that what is important is for the country to maintain its dignity.
He added that invasions such as during the Spanish and American colonial era should not happen again.
“Tama na po yun (That’s enough). You have had your fill. Do not ask for more,” said the President.
At the end of his speech during the 39th commencement exercises for Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA), the President said the Philippines will no longer participate in any war by the US under his term.
“Unless we are threatened directly, there will be no more joint expeditions at least sa panahon ko (during my term),” he said. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue
Facebook, under fire over data leak linked to Trump’s election
FILE PHOTO: People are silhouetted as they pose with mobile devices in front of a screen projected with a Facebook logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica October 29, 2014.
Lawmakers in the United States and Britain demanded on Sunday that Facebook explain how a political data firm with links to President Trump’s 2016 campaign was able to harvest private data from more than 50 million Facebook profiles without the social network alerting those whose information was taken.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio is the latest U.S. lawmaker to express frustration and said Facebook has responsibilities both legal and ethical in the issue.
“And I’m not sure if the sort of institutional knowledge about the responsibilities both legal and ethical that come with that have kept pace with their growth. I think another part about it is sometimes these companies grow so fast and get so much good press. They get up high on themselves that they start to think that perhaps they’re above sort of the rules that apply to everybody else,” said the senator.
Facebook disclosed the issue in a blog post on Friday, hours before media reports that conservative-leaning Cambridge Analytica, a data company known for its work on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, was given access to the data and may not have deleted it.
The firm allegedly used Facebook data to develop methods that it claimed could identify the personalities of individual American voters and influence their behavior.
But Facebook did not inform users whose data had been harvested. The lack disclosure could violate laws in Britain and in many American states.
Britain’s data protection authority and the Massachusetts attorney general on Saturday said they were launching investigations into the use of Facebook data. — Reuters
China, among least trusted countries by Filipinos
FILE PHOTO: A child holds national flags of China and the Philippines before President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte and China’s President Xi Jinping attend a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
MANILA, Philippines — On the latest survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS), Filipinos still trust the United States of America the most.
And even if China and Philippine governments have better relations now compared to the past, Filipinos still do not have much trust in the former.
China only has seven percent net trust compared to 68 percent of America, 55 percent of Canada and 54 percent of Japan.
Malacañang explained that it is only recently during the Duterte administration that the dealing between China and the Philippines become better that is why Filipinos do not have full trust on China yet.
“Siguro bigyan natin ng pagkakataon ang mga Tsino. Sabi nila, magpapadala sila ng napakaraming turista. Sabi nila magpapadala sila ng napakaraming kapital at negosyo,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
(Maybe let’s give China a chance. They say they will send many tourists, investors and businesses.)
However, Roque said that China must fulfill their promises so that the Filipinos will begin to trust them more.
“Kung di tayo magkakagulo dahil sa West Philippine Sea, kung sila ay tutupad sa kanilang pangako na di na sila magkakaroon ng bagong reklamasyon at di na sila magtatayo ng bagong artificial islands. So like all relationships, this is a two-sided relationship. We want to trust China but China must prove itself to be trustworthy,” said Roque.
(If things will not get worse in the West Philippine Sea, if they will be true to their promise of not doing any new reclamations and building artificial islands. So like all relationships, this is a two-sided relationship. We want to trust China but China must prove itself to be trustworthy.) — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue