The wRap


Your World in 10 - April 25 2013 Edition

ASEAN

1. Asean eyes South China Sea Code of Conduct



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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is eyeing the creation of a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) at the end of its 22nd Summit in Brunei. President Benigno Aquino III said this is a “step in the right direction” in trying to prevent conflict over the disputed territory. In 2012, for the first time in its history, ASEAN failed to issue a joint communique because of resistance from Cambodia, an ally of China, and the chair of the summit at the time. Brunei chairs this year’s summit and its leader Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah has said that one of his priorities would be to see a code of conduct agreed upon between ASEAN and China. The summit ends Thursday, April 25.


Read the full story on Rappler




TERRORISM

2. CIA had prior info on Boston bombing suspect



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The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had previously alerted counter-terrorism federal departments and agencies about possible terror ties of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the Boston bombing suspect killed in a shootout with police last week. The CIA had shared information provided by Russian officials with the National Counterterrorism Center (NCC), Department of Homeland Security, State Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation for watchlisting purposes more than a year before the incident. Russia’s Federal Security Service provided Tsarnaev’s name and a possible variant, and two possible dates of birth. Tsarnaev’s name was added to the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment database, which is maintained by the NCC. The disclosure fans growing concern about continuing problems with fluid sharing of information among US government agencies, which made 9/11 possible.

Read the full story on Rappler




CORRUPTION IN SAMAR

3. Why Samar remains poor



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The Commission on Audit said at least P674 million of Samar’s provincial funds have been misused, diverted, are missing, or improperly released ever since the Tan family came to power in 2001. It recorded irregularities in procurement, bidding, and the implementation of projects in one of the country’s poorest provinces. The Tans have repeatedly denied allegations of corruption, claiming that they are politically motivated. Among others, irregularities were reported in the use of relief funds, procurement of medicine, and infrastructure projects. Civil society groups in Samar are asking the Aquino government to do something about widespread corruption in the province.


Read the full story on Rappler
A related story on Samar is also on Rappler




ELECTIONS

4. ‘Half victory’ for political parties on poll funder



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The Comelec resolution that compels survey firms to disclose who their funders are is a “half victory,” for political parties, Comelec Commissioner Christian Lim said Wednesday, April 24. Comelec Resolution No. 9674 requires survey firms to divulge to the Comelec who their funders and subscribers are. This information is supposed to be for the exclusive and confidential use of the Comelec. The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) had previously asked the Social Weather Stations to identify who paid for its Feb 15-17, 2013 survey, but the request was denied. UNA secretary-general Toby Tiangco asked the Comelec to tackle the case. Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes Jr said the confidentiality of the information on poll funders is, in a way, temporary as the Comelec could choose the make it public in the event of campaign and election offenses such as exceeding limits on expenditures.


Read the full story on Rappler




LESSONS FOR ELECTIONS

5. Comelec launches ‘e-Leksyon 2013’



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The Commission on Elections launched a website and mobile app on Wednesday, April 24, to allow users and voters to practice filling up a sample ballot, locate the nearest precinct, report campaign violations, and know about campaign rules. Dubbed “e-Leksyon 2013,” the project was developed jointly by the Comelec and Bitoopi, a group of young programmers from Smart Communications Inc. The Comelec administers and maintains both the website and the mobile app, with the help of Bitoopi. Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the tools “will be important” in making sure that votes count.


Read the full story on Rappler




WORLD

6. Ancient Aleppo minaret destroyed



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The 11th-century minaret of the Umayyad Mosque in Syria, one of its most famous mosques, was destroyed after rebels allegedly blew it up. Activists however said the minaret was hit by Syrian army tank fire. In October 2012, Unesco appealed for the protection of a world heritage site, describing it as “one of the most beautiful mosques in the Muslim world.” The mosque complex, which dates mostly from the 12th century, has been badly damaged by gunfire and shell hits, the BBC reported. The mosque has been in rebel hands since early 2013, although the surrounding area is still contested. The Syrian government accused rebels reportedly belonging to the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra group of setting off explosives which destroyed the minaret. Activists refuted this, saying it was a tank shell that ruined the minaret.


Read the full story on the BBC
A related story is on Rappler




ATROCITIES

7. NDF condemns NPA attack on senator’s mother



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The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF) criticized the April 21 attack by the New People's Army (NPA) against Gingoog City Mayor Ruthie Guingona and her convoy, which left two dead. NDF negotiating panel chair Luis Jalandoni issued a statement on Wednesday expressing its sympathies to the Guingona family. "The NPA is always duty-bound to adhere to its own Basic Rules of Discipline, to the provisions of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), and other instruments and norms of international humanitarian law, especially on the protection of civilians and hors de combat," said Jalandoni. He added that the NPA would investigate its regional command to determine accountability and identify measures to prevent a repeat of the incident. Former vice president Teofisto Guingona, husband of Mayor Guingona, said it won't be easy to forgive those who attacked his wife.


Read the full story on Rappler




RISKY BUSINESS

8. Occupational diseases: The silent killers



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Occupational diseases kill 6 times as many people each year compared to industrial accidents but go largely unreported, according to a report released Wednesday by the International Labour Organizaton (ILO). An estimated 2.34 million people die each year from work-related accidents and diseases. From the estimated 6,300 work-related deaths that occur every day, 5,500 are the results of diseases resulting from work environments.Occupational disease covers a wide range of illnesses, which are contracted as a result of exposure to risk factors that come from work. The can include mental and musculoskeletal disorders (MDs) or pneumoconiosis (a lung disease resulting from the constant breathing of dust or harmful particles). The ILO estimates that work- related accidents and diseases result in an annual 4% loss in global gross domestic product (GDP), or about US$2.8 trillion in direct and indirect costs of injuries and diseases.


Read the full story on Rappler




MOURNING

9. Garment industry under fire as Bangladesh deaths rise



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Criticism mounted of foreign firms that source cheap clothes from the country as the death toll rises from a collapsed garments factory in Bangladesh on Wednesday. At least 152 people are dead and thousands more injured from the disaster. On Tuesday, cracks began to appear at the 8-storey Rana Plaza building but managers allegedly ignored workers' warnings that the building had become unstable. Flags flew at half-mast as the shell-shocked country declared a day of mourning for the victims of the country's worst factory disaster, which highlighted anew safety concerns in Bangladesh's vital garment industry. Working with cutters and drilling machines, fire service and army rescue workers pulled out at least six people alive during the night after sending food and oxygen through holes in the rubble.


Read the full story on Rappler




HIDE AND SHAKE

10. Bill Gates’ handshake causes stir in South Korea



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An image of Bill Gates shaking the hands of South Korean President Geun Hye Park with his other hand in his pocket has caused a stir among South Korean netizens. Placing one hand in the pocket when greeting others is considered impolite in the country. Online debates have raged over whether Gates, the founder of Microsoft and one of the richest people in the world, should be subject to the same rules of etiquette as locals. Even mainstream media has taken to overanalyze the image, comparing it with previous photos of Gates shaking the hands of several Koreans, including former president Lee Myung Bak. It appears Gates really prefers to hide his other hand when pressing the flesh.

Read more in Kotaku