Florida residents fill sandbags, board up as Hurricane Dorian creeps closer

Robie de Guzman   •   September 2, 2019   •   523

As Hurricane Dorian spun into one of the most powerful storms on record and slammed into the Bahamas, residents in northern Florida on Sunday (September 1) filled up sandbags and boarded up in anticipation of heavy winds and flooding.

With winds at 185 mph, Dorian ties with Gilbert (1988), Wilma (2005) and the 1935 Labor Day hurricane for the second strongest Atlantic hurricane on record based on maximum sustained winds.

Allen in 1980 was the most powerful with 190-mph winds, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

“We live in a residential neighborhood so right now it’s going to be for our garages and low lying areas because our neighborhood holds a lot of water,” said Emmette Kessler at a sandbag filling site. “If we get a good day of rain the water is going to come up so we’re just trying to keep the water from getting in our houses a little bit as best as we can.”

Despite many models showing the storm staying offshore and following a similar path to that of Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Dorian’s strength with maximum sustained winds of 185 miles per hour (295 kilometers per hour) and gusts of more than 220 mph (354 kph) have many residents glued to updates looking at whether it shifts a few miles east or west, bringing either respite or disaster.

“If it gets closer or a little bit worse we may move somewhere else, go somewhere else at least in the meantime so we’re just going to be watching and see what we do,” said 21-year-old resident Esteban Garces Palacios.

In Florida, at least seven counties issued mandatory evacuations for some residents, including those in mobile homes, on barrier islands and in low-lying areas.

In north Florida, residents seem most concerned with storm surge as Dorian nears the state’s east coast and flooding of low lying, inland areas by rising rivers. (Reuters)

(Production: Greg Savoy / Zachary Fagenson / Temis Tormo)

NASA’s new Mars rover launches from Florida to seek signs of past life

UNTV News   •   July 31, 2020

NASA’s next-generation Mars rover Perseverance blasted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral on Thursday (July 30) atop an Atlas 5 rocket on a $2.4 billion mission to search for traces of potential past life on Earth’s planetary neighbor.

The next-generation robotic rover – a car-sized six-wheeled scientific vehicle – also is scheduled to deploy a mini helicopter on Mars and test out equipment for future human missions to the fourth planet from the sun. It is expected to reach Mars next February.

It soared into the sky under clear, sunny and warm conditions carried by an Atlas 5 rocket from the Boeing-Lockheed joint venture United Launch Alliance. The launch took place after the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California where its mission engineers were located was rattled by an earthquake.

This marked NASA’s ninth journey to the Martian surface.

Perseverance is due to land at the base of an 820-foot-deep (250 meters) crater called Jezero, a former lake from 3.5 billion years ago that scientists suspect could bear evidence of potential past microbial life on Mars.

Scientists have long debated whether Mars – once a much more hospitable place than it is today – ever harbored life. Water is considered a key ingredient for life, and the Mars billions of years ago had lots of it on the surface before the planet became a harsh and desolate outpost.

One of the most complex maneuvers in Perseverance’s journey will be what mission engineers call the “seven minutes of terror,” when the robot endures extreme heat and speeds during its descent through the Martian atmosphere, deploying a set of supersonic parachutes before igniting mini rocket engines to gently touch down on the planet’s surface.

Aboard Perseverance is a four-pound (1.8 kg) autonomous helicopter named Ingenuity that is due to test powered flight on Mars for the first time.

This was scheduled as the third launch from Earth to Mars during a busy month of July, following probes sent by the United Arab Emirates and China. The state from which the rover was launched, Florida, is currently one of the hot spots in the United States for the coronavirus pandemic. (Reuters)

(Production: Kia Johnson)

NBI warns against proliferation of cybercrimes amid ECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   April 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Scammers are increasingly active these days especially with everyone practically living in cyberspace due to lockdowns in different parts of the world.

In the Philippines, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has warned the public of the rise in cybercrime as the national government’s enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) limits movement outside of residence.

With almost all services migrating online, scammers are taking advantage of online platforms to pursue their schemes.

Such is the problem of Jodel Merjudio who operates an online travel agency.

Merjudio reported to UNTV’s Serbisyong Bayanihan that some scammers created an impostor account of his enterprise’s Facebook page.

It only came to his knowledge when one of his clients told him about an alleged representative of his travel agency who transacted and asked money from that client on his behalf.

Part of the scammer’s modus operandi is to block the clueless victims from its fake page once payment is received.

The victims are then led to Merjudio’s official page to follow up on transactions that the latter had no knowledge of.

“Ang nangyayari, iyong kliyente pag nag-search sila sa Facebook, dalawa ang lalabas na agency. So kami ang nako-contact nila kasi naka-block na sila doon sa scammer page,” Merjudio said.

Jodel said he initially reported the incident to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Region 4A Cybercrime Division.

To assist Jodel, Kuya Daniel Razon contacted Atty.Victor Lorenzo of the NBI’s Cybercrime Division who agreed with Jodel’s initial move of reporting the incident to proper authorities.

The official promised to help Jodel in identifying the perpetrators behind the impostor account and to eventually resolve the case.

“Kunin nila ang mga contact details [ng kliyente] at kung makipag-ugnayan sila sa amin ay iyon kasi ang hihingiin namin (Get the contact details [of the client] so when you come to us, those are the details that we would be asking],” Lorenzo said.

Kokontakin namin sila para malaman kung ano ba ang mode of payment? Paano ang money ay transmitted? Bank to bank? Kasi ang best lead natin kung sino ang nag-create ng fake account ng travel agency (We will ask them what the mode of payment was; how the money was transmitted; and was it bank to bank? Our best lead would be the creator of the travel agency’s fake account),” he added.

Atty. Lorenzo said incidents of online travel agency scams have already dwindled for some time but since the country is under lockdown, scammers have again started to become active online. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

DA, hinikayat ang mga magsasakang hindi makabenta ng produkto na dumulog sa UNTV

Marje Pelayo   •   April 9, 2020

While farmers from other municipality of Benguet are unfortunate in selling their crops, Mrs. Nida Carantes of Taloy Sur will try her luck on this 15th day of enhanced quarantine (3/30/2020) to sell her sweet peas inside Baguio if the authorities will favor her niece to enter. (Clinton Aniversario/PVI)

MANILA, Philippines – Tiniyak ng Department of Agriculture (DA) na tutulungan nito ang mga magsasaka sa pagbebenta ng kanilang mga produkto ngayong umiiral ang enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) bunsod ng nararanasang krisis pangkalusugan.

Ito ang tugon ng DA sa panayam ng programang Get It Straight with Daniel Razon nang dumulog sa himpilan ng UNTV ang hog raiser na si Gaudencio Camaclang dahil nahihirapan siyang ialok ang kanyang mga alagang baboy.

Ayon kay DA Spokesperson Noel Reyes, maaring makipag-ugnayan ang mga magsasaka at maging mangingisda sa UNTV upang maiparating sa Kagawaran kung anong uri ng produkto ang kanilang iniaalok at kung saang lugar upang makuha o mailapit sa mga mamimili.

“Iyong mga may kailangang ma-harvest na at walang merkado, tamang tama po iyan dahil maibebenta po natin iyan sa ‘Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita’ (stores) dito sa Metro Manila at sa mga urban centers, sa mga villagers,” pagtiyak ng opisyal.

“Ipagbigay-alam lang sa inyong programa kung ano iyong (produkto) saang address, at gaano karami. We’ll link them directly sa mga buyers,” dagdag nito.

Ang mga magsasaka sa Region 4A o sa mga bayan ng Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, at Quezon (CALABARZON) ay maaring makipag-ugnayan kay DA Regional Director Arnel De Mesa sa numerong 09175082455 at 09087574547 upang mapuntahan ang kanilang produkto.

Samantala, sinabi ni Reyes na kinikilala ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-IED) ang kahalagahan ng food security lalo na sa kasalukuyang hinaharap na health emergency dahil sa banta ng coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“They approved na dapat kasama sa national security ang food security dahil alam ninyo naman na sa pagdi-distribute pa lang ng pera ay medyo may kaguluhan na. Lalo na kung gutom na ang tao,” saad nito.

Tiniyak ng DA na walang dapat ikabahala ang publiko dahil sapat ang pagkain sa bansa sa kabila ng umiiral na ECQ.

Subalit nakiusap ito sa mga lokal na pamahalaan na huwag harangin ang paghahatid ng mga produktong pagkain upang ang mga ito ay agad na makarating sa mga mamamayan.

“We reiterate na marami po tayong pagkain. Ang naantala lang po ay iyong distribution,” pahayag ng opisyal.

“Kaya nakikiusap kami sa mga LGU sa barangay na kung pagkain ang laman ng dyip o truck ay huwag nang harangin. Let (there be) free flow of goods,” pagtatapos nito.

Sa mga may nais iparating sa mga ahensya ng gobyerno, maaring makipagugnayan sa UNTV Serbisyong Bayanihan sa mga sumusunod na numero:

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