The wRap


Your World in 10 - August 3, 2012 Edition

Syria bloodbath

1. Annan quits as envoy



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Kofi Annan is quitting as UN-Arab League envoy for Syria after battling to persuade President Bashar al-Assad to accept a peace plan. UN leader Ban Ki-moon announced "with deep regret," that Annan had tendered his resignation, as the Syrian civil war spiraled further out of control. The UN and Arab League named Annan, a Nobel Peace prize winning former UN secretary general, as its envoy on the Syria conflict on February 23. Assad agreed a six-point peace plan with Annan but has never carried it out. Annan's mandate was supposed to expire on August 31, but he decided not to renew it. Ban said that he was in discussions with the Arab League on naming a successor.

Read the full story on Rappler





November polls loom

2. US stands firm vs arming Syrian rebels



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The United States is stepping up support for the Syrian rebels but, despite the failure of UN envoy Kofi Annan's mission, is sticking to its refusal to pour arms into a complex conflict. "Our position has not changed: We provide non-lethal assistance to the opposition," White House spokesman Jay Carney said. The 17-month uprising against Assad has already cost more than 20,000 lives, many of them civilian, and raised fears that the embattled Syrian leader could unleash his arsenal of chemical weapons. The US administration is reluctant to become embroiled in another Middle Eastern war with November's election looming.

Read the full story on Rappler





Meddling?

3. Aquino admits helping chief justice nominee



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President Benigno Aquino III has admitted that Malacañang's legal staff is helping Justice Secretary Leila de Lima deal with her problems in the ongoing selection process for chief justice. The President told reporters in Filipino: "Our legal staff is working on it, it's helping her and it's best to wait for the [Judicial and Bar Council] process to end before I can make a comment." De Lima is facing 3 consolidated disbarment complaints. Under JBC rules, nominees facing disbarment complaints and administrative cases are disqualified from judiciary posts. The dismissed chief justice, Renato Corona, was impeached on account of his close ties with the president who appointed him, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Read the full story on Rappler





History again

4. Phelps gets 20th Olympic medal



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It was another historic day for Michael Phelps. After crushing losses in the 400m Individual Medley where he was locked out of the medals, and in the 200m butterfly where we was edged out by five hundredth of a second - the greatest swimmer of all time gave spectators a taste of his brilliance by winning the 200m Individual Medley Thursday night. Phelps beat Ryan Lochete in their second showdown of these games with a time of 1:54.27. While this win is Phelps’ first individual gold medal in London it is his 16th Olympic gold medal and his 20th career Olympic medal. Phelps has won more Olympic medals than any other athlete in history. He is scheduled to swim in two more events in London this Friday and Saturday.

Read the full story on Rappler





Acute pain

5. Arroyo rushed to hospital



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Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo spent Thursday night at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) due to acute cervical and lumbar pain. This is connected to her difficulty in swallowing. Her doctors reportedly advised her to take complete bed rest. Mrs Arroyo chokes due to a previous operation, making it difficult for her even to swallow a Communion host. The former president was released from hospital arrest on July 25. She briefly attended a House plenary last week and was planning to join a House vote on the controversial Reproductive Health bill, which she is opposing.

Read the full story on Rappler





British plan

6. New wave of unmanned drones



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Seeing how effective they have been against the Taliban, the British military plans to develop a new generation of "drones" that would be used in anti-submarine warfare and possible missile attacks on enemy ships, the Guardian reported on August 3. Documents obtained by the Guardian show that the UK Ministry of Defense is considering unmanned water vehicles against pirates off the coast of Somalia. Defense officials concede it's a cheaper way of waging war, and that the possibilities of new drone technologies seem endless.

Read the full story on the Guardian




Search for CJ

7. Congress has 2 seats in JBC



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The Supreme Court on August 3 decided to retain -- for now -- the two seats that Congress has in the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC). The SC justices' decision comes a day after oral arguments on the case. They ruled that Congress can retain its seats in the meantime. The High Tribunal had previously ruled that the Senate and the House of Representatives are entitled to only one seat in the JBC, which screens nominees for judiciary posts. But both houses of Congress appealed the verdict. The JBC on Monday, August 6, is scheduled to come up with a shortlist of nominees for chief justice.

Read the full story on Rappler





Going showbiz

8. Aga Muhlach joins ruling party



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Philippine movie and TV actor Aga Muhlach will be sworn in as a new member of President Benigno Aquino III's Liberal Party (LP) on Friday, August 3. Muhlach and wife, Charlene, registered in March as voters of Camarines Sur province in Bicol. He will reportedly seek a seat in Congress. If he does, he would be up against the powerful Fuentebella clan. Muhlach will be joining 63 top local government officials in a mass oath-taking. With its latest recruits, LP now has 37 governors and 88 members in the House of Representatives.

Read the full story on Rappler





Facebook blues

9. 83 M fake accounts



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Facebook, it turns out, has 83 million fake accounts, a CNN report said. Quoting from Facebook's updated regulatory filing, CNN said 8.7% of its 955 million monthly active users worldwide are duplicate or false accounts. They're a mix of innocent and malicious under 3 categories: duplicate accounts, misclassified accounts and "undesirable" accounts. The social media company reiterated its commitment to disable these accounts. And if you're a parent who created a Facebook account for your kid below 13, you're violating Facebook rules, too.

Read full story on Rappler







Bye, Donna

10. World's oldest hippo dies at 62



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Donna, believed to be the world's oldest hippo, has died in Indiana at the age of 62 after living more than two decades beyond the massive mammal's usual life expectancy. Donna had lived most of her life in the small town of Evansville, Indiana at the Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden. Donna was born at what is now the Memphis Zoo in 1951 and arrived at Mesker Park on August 7, 1956. She was euthanized due to her "declining quality of life" caused by a severe arthritis, zoo officials said.

Read the full story on Rappler