Soviet sub that sank off Norway in 1989 still emitting radiation

Robie de Guzman   •   July 11, 2019   •   1648

Remote controlled robot taking measurements/ “smoke” seen near submarine ventilation hole under water | Courtesy: Reuters

A Soviet nuclear submarine which sank off Norway in 1989 is still emitting radiation, researchers said on Wednesday (July 10) following an expedition that used a remotely controlled vehicle for the first time.

The Komsomolets sank in on April 7, 1989 after a fire broke out on board, killing 42 crew. The wreck now lies at a depth of about 1,700 metres (5,577 feet) at the bottom of the Norwegian Sea, to the southwest of Bear Island in the Arctic.

Authorities have conducted yearly expeditions to monitor radiation levels since the 1990s but this year’s inspection was the first one to use a remotely operated vehicle called Aegir 6000 to film the wreckage and take samples which will be further analysed.

The scientific mission’s samples show levels of radioactivity at the site up to 800,000 higher than normal, the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority said in a statement.

“This is of course a higher level than we would usually measure out at sea but the levels we have found now are not alarming,” said expedition leader Hilde Elise Heldal of the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research.

Radioactivity levels “thin out” quickly at these depths and there are few fish in the area, she said. (REUTERS)

(Production: Ilze Filks)

EUA on Pfizer vaccine won’t be revoked yet despite Norway deaths, DOH says

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The emergency use authorization (EUA) issued last week by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to drug-maker Pfizer-BioNTech for its COVID-19 vaccine will not be revoked yet pending an investigation into claims that it caused the death of some elderly people in Norway, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Norwegian authorities are still looking into reports that 23 individuals aged 75 to 80 with underlying health conditions died after getting inoculated with COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech.

Vergeire also said that studies need to be done on the matter.

“Pfizer has to submit a report to the Philippine Food And Drug Administration regarding this matter. Once we evaluate the report, base sa kanilang conclusion, that’s the time FDA can decide on the EUA of Pfizer. For now,” Vergeire said.

“Hanggang wala pang sufficient evidence that it was caused by vaccines, status quo tayo on this EUA given to Pfizer,” she added.

The FDA granted EUA to Pfizer last January 14, the first out of four applications it received so far. Other applications are AstraZeneca, China’s Sinovac, and Russia’s Gamaleya Institute.

FDA Director-General Eric Domingo said they are still awaiting a report from Norwegian authorities and that they will “revise the conditions of the EUA as needed,” before starting vaccinations as part of the agency’s protocols on the use of vaccines.

Health authorities also reiterated that COVID-19 vaccines will go through stringent evaluation before it can be approved for use in the country.

“Aside from the safety, and the efficacy na meron ang mga bakuna na papasok, titingnan din nila iyon pong social impact nito, titingnan nila ang affordability and titingnan nila sa response ng equity,” Vergeire said.

“They will be evaluating and then they give their recommendation to the Secretary. Kapag positive ang recommendation, we can procure the specific vaccine,” she added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

6th Wish Music Awards pioneers a groundbreaking new normal for PH music industry

Marje Pelayo   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s top FM station Wish 107.5 staged another milestone in the Philippine music industry with a concert inside not just any venue but at the Big Dome on Sunday (January 17).

The radio station of the famed Wish Bus, once again proved that it is truly “breaking boundaries”, that despite the pandemic it was able to pull off a grand concert for a cause and gathered some of the top Filipino artists at the 6th Wish Music Awards hosted by celebrity-athlete Gretchen Ho and “Asia’s Romantic Balladeer,” Christian Bautista. 

“It’s so nice to see people get a chance again to perform for their fans live, to just have a feel of the stage again,” said Ho.

Attendees underwent swab testing, while health protocols and proper sanitation procedures were strictly observed.

Each of the hosts and performing artists was given a microphone for their exclusive use throughout the event.

For the RT-PCR and antigen tests, Wish 107.5 partnered with Maxicare Health Corporation.

Only attendees with negative results were allowed to enter the venue.

The entire Big Dome also underwent massive disinfection for the safety of the attendees.

All productions and technical crew were required to use face masks and face shield throughout the event and floor markings were placed to guide them of the proper social distance.

The event at the Big Dome was not opened to the public, but fans and supporters were still able to enjoy the show as it was streamed live through Wish 107.5’s official YouTube channel.

Viewers on Sunday night reached to over 40,000 and the event hashtag #WishMusicAwards trended on Twitter with almost 200,000 tweets.

This year, the station gave two prestigious awards to individuals who made major contributions to the Philippine music industry, starting off with OPM legend and renowned lyricist, Rey Valera and Journey frontman and singer-philanthropist, Arnel Pineda.

“It is an honor to be bestowed this prestigious award; the prize money you’re going to give to us will definitely make a difference to the lives of our beneficiaries,” Pineda said, receiving the KDR Icon of Music and Philanthropy award.

“Salamat sa Kuya Daniel. Natutuwa ako puro kabataan ang nakikita ko. Nakikita ko ang kinabukasan ng OPM. Napakinggan ko ang mga lyrics nila. Importante sa akin iyon. Gusto kong mangyari kung ano ang mangyayari bukas,” Valera said receiving the KDR Icon of Musical Excellence award.

Winners in this year’s Wish Music Awards received P25,000 each while their chosen charities received P100, 000 each.

Among the highlights at Sunday’s event was the debut performance at the Wish Awards of OPM royalty, ‘Parokya ni Edgar’ and the award-winning Australian singer-songwriter Guy Sebastian.

Wish 107.5’s creator and innovator Kuya Daniel Razon, who on Sunday graced the event inside the Wish Bus, expressed his gratitude to all OPM artists for keeping their music alive to heal, to inspire and to give hope in the face of a pandemic. 

“I wish to tell all of you, that your endeavors are very much appreciated,” noted Kuya Daniel, President and CEO of BMPI-UNTV which manages Wish 107.5.

“Ang inyong mga awitin at musika ay nanatili para patuloy na umaliw, patuloy na dumamay, sa bawat lumbay, sa bawat pangamba at sa bawat takot. Mayroon pong mga titik, mayroong tinig at tunog na palaging nagbibigay buhay at kahulugan sa mga damdaming ito. I would like to thank you all for being our hidden heroes during this difficult time,” he added.

Kuya Daniel vows to continue helping more Filipino artists by providing an avenue for the promotion of their music and an opportunity to spread goodwill through Wish 107.5. MNP (with reports from Mirasol Abogadil)

READ: 6th Wish 107.5 Music Awards: Complete List of Winners

Suspects in Dacera rape-slay send ‘surrender feeler’; PNP insists victim was raped

Marje Pelayo   •   January 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) stands by the rape-slay angle in the death of flight attendant Christine Dacera on January 1 inside a hotel room in Makati City.

This is despite claims from suspects that they have no interest in women as they are members of the LGBT community.

On Wednesday (January 6), PNP Chief PGen. Debold Sinas, National Capital Region Police Office Director PBGen. Vicente Danao Jr, and some members of the PNP Command Group met with Dacera’s family.

Sinas updated Dacera’s mother on the ongoing police investigation wherein some of the suspects have sent surrender feelers to the PNP following his 72-hour ultimatum for them to surrender.

Sinas maintained that Dacera was raped based on the bruises and contusions found in different parts of the victim’s body.

“We have evidence but we do not reveal it now kasi ongoing pa ang investigation at na-file na ang initial case sa court,” the PNP Chief said. 

But based on the autopsy report acquired by UNTV, there was no mention of male semen found in Dacera’s private part though the report claims there was a  “deep-healed laceration” in her hymen.

There were also no traces of illegal drugs in her body based on the report though some undetermined ‘blackish fluid’ was found inside her stomach.

Bruises and contusions were also found on her knees and a mark from a needle prick in her right arm.

The autopsy report named Christine Dacera as the victim signed by the Medico Legal Officer PMaj. Dr. Michael Nick Sarmiento and was marked ‘Certified True Copy.’

Dacera’s mother Sharon expressed gratitude for the outpouring support, especially coming from President Rodrigo Duterte. MNP (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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