The wRap


Your World in 10 - April 25, 2012 Edition

Nation

1. VP Binay lobbied for Gen. Garcia plea bargain



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Vice President Jejomar Binay lobbied for President Benigno Aquino III to consider the plea bargain deal that allowed former military comptroller and retired Major General Carlos Garcia to get away with a lesser offense in his P303-M plunder case. In this exclusive report, Rappler explains what happened behind the scenes.

Details on Rappler




Courts

2. Historic vote gives Hacienda Luisita to farmers



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In a historic vote, the Supreme Court of the Philippines voted 14-0 to reaffirm its ruling ordering Hacienda Luisita land to be distributed to farmer beneficiaries. The Hacienda Luisita estate and sugar plantation belongs to the Cojuangco side of President Benigno Aquino III and has been the subject of a decades-long, bitter and bloody legal dispute. President Aquino divested shares in Hacienda Luisita before taking office in 2010, but Chief Justice Renato Corona has said that the President has pushed for his impeachment because of the court’s rulings favoring farmers involved in the case.

Read the full story on Rappler




Business

3. Telecom rivals turn railway partners



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Two telecommunications rivals have come together to work on upcoming rail projects. The deal forged on April 24 between Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala of Ayala Corp. and Manuel V. Pangilininan of Metro Pacific Investment Corp. was seen as a strategic move between the country’s two largest conglomerates. While the two groups are fierce competitors behind Globe Telecom and PLDT, they have agreed to bid as one when the government opens up bidding of infrastructure projects including work on the LRT-1, LRT-2 and MRT-3.

Read more on Rappler




Tension in Korea

4. NoKor threatens “special actions” against SoKor government



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Tensions rise between North Korea and South Korea. Amid accusations from the US and South Korea that the failed North Korean rocket launch attempt was merely a cover up for long range missile tests and the United Nations condemning it for violating a missile activity ban, North Korea is fighting back with threats that it would conduct “special actions” that would reduce the South Korean government to ashes in minutes. A recent warning issued by South Korean UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on North Korea to refrain from “further provocative measures” saying that it was “not desirable to the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula.” There are growing fears that North Korean may plan on conducting nuclear tests just like it did after rocket launches in 2006 and 2009.

Full details on Time.com




Scarborough crisis

5. Chinese tabloid presses for war vs the Philippines



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An editorial in the Global Times, a tabloid newspaper owned by the ruling Communist Party, is pushing for a “small-scale war” against the Philippines over its recent Scaroborough Shoal dispute. The article goes: "Once the war erupts, China must take resolute action and deliver a clear message to the outside world that it does not want a war, but definitely has no fear of it. Nevertheless, such a war cannot put the South China Sea issue to an end." Political tension between both countries escalated this week after both countries have engaged in a standoff, with both countries refusing to pull out ships from the area amid promises that they would.

Details here


Latest update on Rappler




World

6. James Murdoch testifies on cellphone hacking case



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James Murdoch, son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, appeared before a judicial inquiry that is looking into the ethical behavior of the British press. Murdoch testified that while he had taken over his family-owned tabloid, News of the World in 2007, he had no editorial control over the paper. The younger Murdoch then blamed his subordinates for not making him aware of the hacking of cellphone messages of politicians, celebrities and other personalities. Had he been aware, he would have called on newspaper executives to “cut out the cancer.”

Read more on the New York Times




Technology

7. Crowd storage service Google Drive launched



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Google unveiled a new product early Wednesday morning. Google Drive is a cloud storage service similar to Dropbox and, to a certain extent, Apple’s iCloud. Built into Google Docs, the service allows users to store files online and access them from anywhere with an Internet connection. The product also highlights collaboration and allows users to share files with friends and colleagues, work on documents, and leave comments like you would on a social networking site. Available today, Google Drive is integrated tightly with other Google products such as Gmail and Google+.

Details on Rappler




Space

8. Future space missions to focus on mining asteroids



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Titanic director James Cameron, who has just come back from a successful mission from the deepest depths of the earth’s ocean, has announced a new venture alongside Google to go where no man has boldly gone before. The plan is to conduct mining operations in nearby asteroids for gold, platinum and other rare earth metals. The announcement comes months after NASA announced that it be closing down its Space Shuttle program, and is seen as a much needed boost that will invigorate interest in space exploration.

Read more




Entertainment

9. Ryan Seacrest stays with American Idol



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After rumblings about his possible departure from the show, long-time American host Ryan Seacrest signed a lucrative $30 million dollar deal to stay on as host of the popular reality singing contest for two more years. Seacrest, 37, has been the original AI host since it launched 11 seasons ago. There were rumors that former American Idol judge Simon Cowell was eyeing Seacrest to take over the gig as X-Factor US host after Cowell fired last season’s judge Steve Jones. In a related statement, Seacrest was quoted saying, ““For the last 11 seasons, I've had the privilege to be a part of one of television's most iconic shows. It’s been a wild ride, and I'm excited for my journey with ‘American Idol’ to continue.”

Read more




Marine life

10. All-white killer whale discovered in Russia



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Not Moby Dick, but close. Scientists announced on Monday, April 23, the discovery of the world’s first all-white male killer whale that was spotted off the coast of Russia. Nicknamed “Iceberg”, the orca was spotted swimming with a pod of 12 other whales. Scientists have yet to determine if the killer whale is an albino, but they have planned future trips to the area to determine Iceberg’s genetic data. In a separate blog post by Eric Hoyt, co-director of the Far East Russia Orca Project, wrote: “In many ways, Iceberg is a symbol of all that is pure, wild and extraordinarily exciting about what is out there in the ocean waiting to be discovered.”

Details on MSNBC

Read Eric Hoyt’s Blog