I wish all readers of my blog a happy, prosperous and healthy New Year.
Looking back to 2014 the following came into my mind.
The average number of typhoons or tropical storms (locally called Bagyo) that hit the Philippines is between 4 and 19 since mid of the last century.
This year we had a minimum again, only 2 hit northern Luzon, some more in the south of the Philippines (Visaya's and Mindanao). Most typhoons that developed east of the Philippines went off north, heading to Japan.
Just a few days ago a tropical storm hit Visaya's which is quite late, as usually the last month of the typhoon period is November.
We have prepared already some measures to reduce flooding from typhoons in 2015.
As I wrote in one of my posts earlier this year, my weather station was broken. Since a couple of weeks I have a new weather station installed, which was imported by my son when he visited me in November. It is a WS-5000, brand Alecto. So I hope to be able to report again statistics about typhoons passing by here next year, and get it online.
It seems that 2014 is the year with the most refugees ever registered since WWII, or even above it.
Economical, political and religious tensions are the main causes, mainly in the Middle East, Africa and Ukraine, with in my view ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups being the biggest threat for the near future of the civilized world.
On the other hand the Islamic liberation war in the Philippines seems to be tamed, since there is a signed agreement - earlier this year - with the government, giving them more autonomy.
And then there is the war against Ebola, which killed already more than 4000 people. Despite predictions that it will be soon under control, I would not be surprised if in 2015 there will be even more deaths.
A new type of war is emerging, the Cyber war. Sony USA was the big target this year and it is unclear yet who the attackers are. The FBI warned that more sectors of the USA economy and society are under attack, or at least vulnerable for attacks, like the energy sector, including nuclear plants. Possible attackers mentioned are citizens from North Korea, China, Russia and Iran. Unclear if supported by their respective governments.
Even ISIS is mentioned as a future enemy in Cyber warfare.
There were three main aircraft disasters in 2014, accidentally all three affected airlines originating from Malaysia.
Malaysia Airlines lost flights MH370 (239 deaths) and MH17 (298 deaths), AirAsia lost flight QZ8501 (162 deaths).
In total there were this year 20 aircraft crashes with 688 deaths. More than double that of the previous year (2013) with 265 deaths, which was the safest year since 1946.
Also there were four main ship disasters.
In April in South Korea a ferry (probably overloaded) capsized with 476 passengers on board, of which 304 were found dead (mostly teenagers).
Another ferry in December in the Adriatic sea also capsized and was on fire. Reported are 10 people dead. Evacuated are at least 427 people.
In March 2014 in Uganda, a boat carrying Congolese refugees capsized in Lake Albert, killing 251 people.
The total number of posts on my blog for this year is 43, one less than the top year 2010. My intention is to be even more productive in 2015.
European and Japan economies were still weak this year. And as a result of western sanctions to Russia, because of the annexation of Crimea, also the Russian economy went into recession, which was as well caused by the sudden drop in oil prices with 50 percent in November 2014.
The euro to peso (PHP) exchange rate dropped this year from above 60 peso down to ca. 54 peso.
As a result my spendable pension is reduced with ca. 10%.
Happy New Year!!