Rappler Newscast | December 24, 2012

Today on Rappler.

Top leaders of the United Nationalist Alliance - Vice President Jejomar Binay, former President Joseph Estrada, and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile—arrive in Cebu Sunday to show support for suspended Governor Gwendolyn Garcia.
Garcia, a congressional candidate of UNA, was suspended by the Palace on December 19 for grave abuse of authority.
The trio's visit comes days after UNA released a scathing statement, attacking Garcia's suspension as a -quote- "power grab" and a form of "political harassment."

Malacañang on Sunday cites an informal survey conducted by Cebu Daily News showing support for the government's move to suspend Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia.
As of Sunday night, the survey shows 61.27% of its respondents believe Garcia deserves the suspension, while 34.29% see it as a case of “power grabbing.”
Citing the survey's results, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda encourages Garcia to follow the rule of law, saying the suspension has popular support from the people of Cebu.
Garcia, who refuses to step down, is waiting for the Court of Appeals to grant her petition for a temporary restraining order on her suspension.
CDN is an affiliate of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
It is the competitor of SunStar, which is owned by the Garcia family.

In a video message, President Benigno Aquino III urges Filipinos to remember the true meaning of Christmas this year and asks everyone to be thankful for their blessings.

BENIGNO AQUINO III, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: Pagkakataon ang Pasko para magpasalamat sa lahat ng biyayang ating natamasa. Sa ngalan ng buong pamahalaan, nagpapasalamat ako sa lahat ng Pilipinong nakiambag sa pagtatag ng kultura ng katapatan at malasakit sa kapwa.
Lahat nang ito’y sumasalamin sa tunay na diwa ng Kapaskuhan: pagbibigayan, pagpapakumbaba, at pagmamahal sa ating kapwa.
(Christmas is a chance to give thanks for all the blessings we received. On behalf of the government, I would like to express gratitude to every Filipino who contributed to building the culture of honesty and concern for others. All of these are reflective of the true meaning of Christmas: Unselfishness, humility, and love for fellow men.)

A Social Weather Stations survey released Sunday night says, six in every 10 Filipinos expect good cheer this holiday season.
The survey shows 64% of adult Filipinos expect a happy Christmas.
Another 26% say they will be "neither happy nor sad."
The remaining 9% say they are expecting a "sad Christmas."
But SWS cites a significant decrease in the number of optimistic Filipinos in Mindanao, a region still reeling from the impact of deadly typhoon Pablo

Officials say survivors of a typhoon that ravaged the southern Philippines will bypass Christmas this year as they struggle in evacuation centers and continue to bury their dead.
NDRRMC undersecretary Benito Ramos says instead of presents and carols…
Thousands of people on the island of Mindanao will be more concerned with food, water and shelter.
But 2 families taking refuge in an elementary school in Cateel still plan to celebrate Christmas by simply praying together.
53-year-old Edwina Masidog, mother to 8 children, says they have all the reason to celebrate life.
She says, "Even if we have lost our homes and properties, we should celebrate the birth of Christ by expressing our gratitude that we are still alive."
Standing on the spot where their chapel used to stand, 18-year-old Jason Gonzales says Christmas must be celebrated.
He says, "Hopefully we will have a new chapel in our village.”
Gonzales adds,“This will serve as a sign for the people to unite and work together to rebuild our lives."
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PAGASA says rain will fall in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental on Tuesday, December 25. A bitter reminder of the typhoon that killed over 1,000 people weeks before Christmas.
Disaster officials say the rain, triggered by a low pressure area approaching Mindanao, could cause flash floods and landslides.
The weather bureau says Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental will experience occasional light to moderate rains on Monday night until Tuesday morning.
PAGASA expects the LPA to make landfall on Christmas Day.
The rain will come from the low pressure area  expected to affect the Caraga, Eastern Visayas, and Bicol regions, among others.

Story 7: THE wRap: Your world in one read
Let’s now look at Rappler’s “wRap” for today…
a list of the ten most important events around the world you shouldn’t miss.

At number 5, More than 700 Palestinians have been killed in Syria since conflict erupted nearly two years ago.
A Palestine Liberation Organization official says they have asked Syrian authorities not to drag Palestinians into the conflict.
On Sunday, December 23, several rockets were fired into a refugee camp in southern Damascus, the site of clashes between pro- and anti-regime forces the past week.
Syria claims its military is not part of the fighting and did not intervene “in any way.”

At number 6, The Middletons will have royalty as guests this Christmas as Prince William and his wife Catherine opt to spend the holiday with them.
Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip approves the decision.
The couple, who is expecting a child, plans to visit the queen’s estate in Norfolk, eastern England, later during the holidays.

At number 8, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is still at No. 1 at the US box office for two weeks in a row, raking in an estimated US$36.7 million just over the weekend.
Globally, it earns $223 million, making it the biggest opening for any “Lord of the Rings” film.
It collects $138.2 million internationally and $84.6 million in the US and Canada.
Box office watchers say it is the biggest December opening in motion picture history.
The popular epic is directed by Peter Jackson based on the classic novels of J.R.R. Tolkien.
It stars Martin Freeman of British TV’s “Sherlock” fame and Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey.

And at number 9, an ancient Chinese herb extracted from the root of a flowering plant called blue evergreen hyrangea is effective against fever and malaria because of its active ingredient called febrifuginone.
Researchers find this ingredient could be pharmaceutically made as a molecule called halofuginone.
Halofuginone has treated fever from a malaria infection.
It is now being studied as a means to fight inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

The British Sunday Times is suing Lance Armstrong for more than  £1 million ($1.6 million, 1.2 million euros) over a libel payment made to the cyclist in 2006.
The newspaper paid Armstrong £300,000 to settle a libel case after previously suggesting he may have cheated.
But the United States Anti-Doping Agency subsequently found that Armstrong led the -quote- "most sophisticated" doping program in sporting history.
It lead  to a lifetime cycling ban for the Texan, who was also stripped of his seven Tour de France wins.
The Sunday Times is demanding the return of the original settlement payment, along with interest and legal costs.

Singapore wins the AFF Suzuki Cup for a record fourth time with a 3-2 aggregate win over Thailand,
Singapore takes a two-goal advantage to Thailand and holds on despite near-relentless pressure from the spirited home side.
Thailand's War Elephants threw everything at the visitors but they couldn’t  find a second goal to take the game into extra-time
It's an impressive third cup victory for Singapore's coach, who guided the team to the 2004 and 2007 titles.

- Rappler.com