The wRap


Your World in 10 - April 22, 2013 Edition

Boston Bombings

1. The Tsarnaev brothers, the Internet & al-Qaeda



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Inspire is published by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula based in Yemen. Terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna says “AQAP is a direct extension of Central al-Qaeda...This group today poses the most significant threat to the US." He adds the Internet today is the principal medium of communication by terrorists, “To reach out to their supporters – to radicalize, to recruit people, to indoctrinate them and to get them to launch terrorist attacks.” Maria Ressa, author of “From Bin Laden to Facebook” and “Seeds of Terror” says the Tsarnaev brothers “match the profile that most worries American law enforcement: long-time American residents familiar with American culture, geography and customs with ethnic roots and values that allow them to develop deep connections to Islamic movements overseas.”


What do terrorists look like today? They are smiling, handsome young men with hatred in their hearts, fanned and fuelled by the Internet. Here’s 26 year old Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s playlist of hate. Tamerlan’s YouTube channel includes a video of the dramatization of the Black Banners of Khurusan. The black flag symbolizes the march of an all-powerful Islamic military force from Central Asia to defeat the infidels. Another video in his social media account is a lecture by Feiz Muhammad, a fundamentalist Australian cleric. Tamerlan's YouTube playlist also includes a song called “I Dedicate My Life to Jihad.” Tamerlan and his brother, 19-year-old Dzhokhar-- the other bombing suspect, were apparently influenced by the online Inspire magazine, which disseminates ideological materials and bomb-making techniques, including how to make the pressure cooker bombs used in Boston.


Read more on
Rappler.




Rape

2. India police arrest suspect in rape of 5 year old girl



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A 5-year-old Indian girl who was abducted, raped and tortured in New Delhi is alert and stable, according to doctors. Her physician said the child may have to undergo "definitive and corrective" surgery to recover from the attack. Delhi's chief police investigator said she was left for dead by the suspect in the room where she was held for over 40 hours. Fresh protests erupted over sexual violence in the country as the attack evoked memories of the brutal gang-rape and death of a young female student last December which shook India. Newspapers splashed the rape of the 5-year-old on their front pages with headlines such as "Delhi shamed again" and "Depraved Delhi." New Delhi, a city of at least 16 million people, has long had a reputation as India's "rape capital." In 2012, there were around 700 rapes reported, a 23 percent rise from the previous year. India's parliament last month approved a new bill toughening punishment for sex offenders.


Read more on Rappler
here and here.




Ambush

3. NPA apologizes, condemned for ambush of political convoy



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The New People’s Army apologizes to the Guingona family for hurting Gingoog City Mayor Ruthie Guingona in an encounter with her group in Misamis Oriental last night. The NPA claims it acted “in self-defense.”


Allan Juanito, spokesman of the NPA-North Central Mindanao Regional Command says “We are deeply saddened by this unfortunate incident. We take responsibility for this.” Police said the mayor and her bodyguards were on their way home from a fiesta when they were fired upon by communist rebels at around 11 pm, Saturday, April 20 in Brgy Binakakalan in Gingoog. Juanito claims the incident was not an ambush. “It started when Mayor Guingona’s armed escorts fired upon an NPA checkpoint.” Senator Teofisto Guingona III said the rebels threw grenades and fired at his mother’s vehicle causing it to overturn. Ruthie sustained wounds, killing 3 aides. Juanito says the group recognizes former vice president Teofisto Guingona’s significant contribution to the Filipino people’s anti-dictatorship struggle and his steadfast nationalist standpoint on various issues. The NPA reiterates its warning to all candidates who are campaigning in guerilla zones to avoid carrying firearms or armed escorts.


Read more on Rappler
here, here and here.






Secret Report

4. Robredo: Lim liable for Luneta bloodbath



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President Benigno Aquino III sat on a recommendation of then Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo to suspend Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim for the Luneta hostage crisis in August, 2010. The hostage crisis led to the death of 8 tourists from Hong Kong and the hostage taker, a dismissed Manila cop. Documents provided to Rappler by Lim's political rivals showed the late Interior Secretary found Lim administratively liable for the mishandling of the situation that strained relations between Manila and Beijing. In a memorandum issued on May 9, 2012 – almost 2 years after the incident – Robredo recommended a one-month suspension for Lim for “simple neglect of duty.” President Aquino, a longtime family friend and political ally of Lim, set aside the recommendation. Three months later, Robredo died in a plane crash. The IIRC noted that when Lim instructed Manila police to bring the hostage-taker’s brother to Tondo-- a euphemism for a dumping place for dead bodies-- it was tantamount to ordering the latter’s summary execution. The incident which played out on national TV angered the hostage-taker. The IIRC also said Lim abandoned the command post at a crucial moment and invited the ground commander for a snack at the Emerald Restaurant. The IIRC concluded that Lim “failed to observe the appropriate degree of attention required by the gravity and highly-volatile nature of the crisis.” Lim sought to dismiss the case against him, blaming police officials instead.


Read more on Rappler.




Earthquake

5. Rescuers struggle to find survivors in China quake, at least 186 dead, more than 11,000 injured



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Thousands of rescue workers combed through flattened villages in southwest China, Sunday, in a race to find survivors from a powerful quake as the toll of dead and missing rose past 200. But therescue operation was hampered by huge queues of traffic -- some stretching back for 20 kilometers (12 miles) -- clogging roads into the disaster zone. China's new Premier Li Keqiang says the first 24 hours was "the golden time for saving lives." Boulders the size of cars littered streets in Lushan county, the epicenter of the earthquake. More than 1,100 aftershocks have followed since the quake struck Saturday morning. Chinese seismologists registered the tremor at 7.0 magnitude while the US Geological Survey gave it as 6.6. At least 179 people have been confirmed dead, 24 are missing and nearly 11,500 were injured. the Xinhua news agency, citing the Ministry of Public Security says firefighters have pulled 91 people alive from the rubble. Five years ago, a Sichuan earthquake left more than 90,000 people dead or missing. Earthquakes frequently strike China's southwest.


Read more on
Rappler.


Read more on The Wall Street Journal.


Read more on CNN.




H7N9 Virus

6. Bird flu kills 20, infects dozens in China - state media



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The death toll from the H7N9 bird flu virus in China reaches 20, with dozens infected. On Sunday, state media reports the new strain of bird flu is detected in 102 people, mostly in Eastern China. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention earlier said 40 percent of patients with H7N9 did not come into contact with poultry, raising questions about how people are becoming infected. There are reports the virus spread among family members in Shanghai, raising fears it was passing between humans. But the World Health Organization says there is still "no evidence of ongoing human-to-human transmission".


A team of international health experts is on a week-long mission in Beijing and Shanghai to investigate the virus. Experts fear the virus may mutate into a form transmissible between humans.


Read more on
Rappler.




Civil War

7. US to double aid to rebels in Syria



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US Secretary of State John Kerry says the United States will provide Syrian rebels $123 million in aid, as foreign ministers discuss how to help the opposition in Syria's civil war. At a meeting with Western and Middle Eastern ministers in Istanbul, Kerry says a portion of the aid will be used to prove "non-lethal" supplies to the military wing of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, an umbrella organization of the various rebel groups trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. The meeting in Istanbul aims to find consensus on how military assistance should be given to the rebels.
The United States' new aid will add to the food rations and medical supplies it pledged to give the military wing of the Syrian resistance.
The new pledge brings the total amount of nonlethal assistance from the United States to $250 million. Kerry also urges other nations to increase their assistance, with the goal of providing $1 billion in international aid.


Read more on The New York Times.




#Palaro2013

8. Palarong Pambansa: PH youth Olympics begins



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The biggest sporting event in the country kicks off in Dumaguete City, as 10,000 student athletes compete in the 2013 Palarong Pambansa. The week-long competition start April 22 and will end on April 27.


Over 3000 medals are up for grabs in 18 sports. Winners will also receive cash prizes from the Department of Education. On Monday, Western Visayas' Jerremay Rubias wins the first gold medal of the games, throwing 39.59 meters to top the secondary - girls javelin throw competition. The Aklan-native Rubias delivers her best throw in her third try to finish ahead of CARAGA's Rinalyn Apos and Jovelyn Notario of Cagayan Valley. Rappler, in partnership with the Department of Education, gives you the blow-by-blow of the events as they happen on the Palarong Pambansa microsite
here.




TechRap

9. Swimming and shooting underwater with the Xperia Z



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TechRap reviews Sony's latest flagship smartphone Xperia Z and subjects it to a water test by swimming. Sony says its newest phone can survive being submerged in water for 30 minutes, except in saltwater and swimming pools. TechRap did just that, and the phone delivered: it took good quality shots and video underwater. Earlier, a Techrap test unit stopped working after water entered through the power ports, so make sure all openings are closed before trying a water test. Overall, the phone's features -- a 13 MP camera, 5 inch full HD display, 1.5 GhZ quad core processor, and classy design -- make the Xperia Z one of the top phones in the market today.


Read more on Rappler.




#votesmart

10. 21 days to go: #votesmart on May 13



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Rappler, in partnership with Smart Communications Inc., launch the #votesmart campaign, an advocacy to help voters choose the right leaders by providing comprehensive information for the May elections. On #PHvote, every national candidate has a profile page and an interactive timeline. There are background stories and debates on key concerns to help voters know more about their candidates and help them make informed decisions. On May 13, voters have the chance to elect the government they deserve, a government they can trust. Celebrities like TV host Luis Manzano, comedian Ramon Bautista, siblings Maxene and Elmo Magalona, and musician Barbie Almalbis have pledged their commitment to the campaign. Don't sell your vote. Take the time to read and share stories so you can vote smart.


Read more on
Rappler.