The wRap


Your World in 10 - August 8, 2012 Edition

Flooded

1. 34 National Roads inaccessible, 73 municipalities flooded



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34 National and local roads in Luzon and Visayas are now inaccessible due to flash floods and landslides brought about by non-stop rain since Tuesday August 7. The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) reports that roads in 12 provinces are not passable or closed (click here to see full list - link to article please). The NDRMMC also reports that 73 municipalities in Pangasinan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, Zambales, Tarlac, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite are submerged under flood waters. 9 areas in Luzon are under state of calamity. Weather bureau Pagasa says monsoon rains will continue to batter Luzon and western Visayas within the next 24 hours but weather is expected to clear up on Thursday.




Rainy Wednesday

2. Today’s forecast: no typhoon but plenty of rain.



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While there isn’t a tropical cyclone within the Philippine Area of Responsibility expect rains to continue to pour this Wednesday. Pagasa forecasts the southwest monsoon will continue to trouble Luzon and Visayas throughout the day but not as bad as the monsoon rains that hit Monday and Tuesday. As of 9am Pagasa lowered its warning from Green to Yellow Alert. Malacañang has ordered government workers to return to work to fast track relief efforts. At least 11 cities in Metro Manila have evacuation and relief centers while the Philippine Red Cross has setup an online facility for accepting donations using Multiply.

Read more on Rappler.



Axis of resistance

3. Iran: Don’t mess with Syria



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Iran is stepping in on the Syrian crisis calling out the US for “warmongering” and publicly declaring support for the administration of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Iranian National Security Adviser Saeed Jalili is was in Damascus on Tuesday to meet with al Assad. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meanwhile warned that countries sending terrorist fighters will not be tolerated. Iran is reported to be sending Islamist terrorist cells to support the Syrian Army. World powers have yet to intervene in Syria but countries such as the US, France, Britain and Turkey have expressed support for Syrian rebels and the opposition.

Read more on Guardian and CNN.



Guilty

4. Gunman in 2011 Tucson, Arizona shooting pleads guilty



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Jared Loughner the suspect behind a shooting spree that killed 6 people and wounded 13 others including former US Congresswoman Gabielle Giffords last January 2011 pleaded guilty to 20 of 49 criminal charges filed against him including first-degree murder. Loughner’s plea comes after Judge Larry Burns found him mentally competent to admit to the crimes. Back in May 2005, Lougher was declared incompetent to stand trial after delivered an angry rant in court, the decision halting proceedings for several months. Loughner will evade the death penalty but will spend the rest of his life in prison, a deal brokered by his defense team and the prosecution.

Read more on New York Times and Rappler.



Death row

5. US Supreme Court allows execution of ‘low IQ’ inmate



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The US Supreme Court issued the green light for the execution of Marvin Wilson, a Texas death row inmate whose lawyers have been trying to get off the death penalty on grounds that he is ineligible because of his low IQ. WIlson was sentenced to death in 1992 for the murder of a 21-year old police informant. Attorneys for Wilson argue his IQ of 61 below the threhold of 70, suggests he is mentally impaired, but state lawyers claim his 2004 IQ test may have been faulty. Wilson was executed by lethal injection Tuesday evening.

Read more on Time.com.



London 2012

6. Reinstated Algerian runner wins men’s 1500m



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Algerian sprinted Toufik Makloufi took home the gold in the men’s 1500m middle distance run after shortly after his reinstatement to the Olympic Games. Makloufi was expelled from the Olympics on Monday after he did not finish competing in the heats of the 800m race. Makloufi who originally tried to withdraw from heat but missed the deadline, started the race but ran only 200m of it. The International Association of Athletics Federations had him expelled from the Olympics for not trying hard enough, he was later reinstated allowing him the opportunity to compete in the 1500m and win his first Olympic title. Meanwhile Sally Pearson won Australia’s first track and filed gold in the London Olympics with a win in the women’s 100m hurdles event. Pearson defeated defending champion Dawn Harper of the USA with an Olympic record of 12.35 seconds.

Read more on CNN.



Freed fishermen

7. ‘Arrested’ Chinese fishermen released in Sri Lanka



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A group of 37 Chinese fishermen arrested last for taking part in an illegal fishing operation off the coast of Sri Lanka have been handed over to Chinese diplomats. While Chinese news agency Xinhua reports that the fishermen were arrested, a spokesperson for the Sri Lankan Navy insists the Chinese were never arrested. The fishermen were on two fishing vessels and had 2 Sri Lankan nationals on board. It is unclear whether the Chinese fishermen were employed within Sri Lanka as crew members but analysts for the BBC say that incidents such as this one are increasing, with Chinese fishermen traveling further because of a lack of fish closer to home.

Read more on BBC.



Pussy riot

8. Madonna concert threatened over violence threats



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Authorities in Russia are beefing up security measures after the US Embassy in Moscow warned of threats of violence against spectators of Madonna’s upcoming concert in St. Petersburg on August 9. Madonna performed to a packed stadium in Moscow on Tuesday expressing support for the Russian punk-rock band Pussy Riot whose members have been charged with hooliganism after performing a song that was critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Madonna said she was praying for the band members, Maria, Katya and Nadia who face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

Read more on CNN and Rappler.



Spoilers

9. Russian spoils Chinese dominance in diving



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21-year-old Russian diver Steely Zakharov took the Olympic men’s 3m springboard crown shattering China’s dream of sweeping all eight gold diving medals at stake at the London Olympics. Chinese divers had won each of the 5 of the 8 diving gold medals at stake leading up to Tuesday’s 3m springboard event. China also failed to achieve the feat during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing when Australian Mathew Mitcham performed the dive of his life to take the gold in the 10m platform. Until today, defending Champion He Chong has been unbeaten since 2006. Leningrad’s forward four and a half somersault scored a competition high of 104.50 points for the gold, Chinese divers took silver and bronze.

Read more on Rappler.



Entertainment

10. Catwoman raises $2M for Obama campaign



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Anne Hathaway and producer Harvey Weinstein played host to a $35,000 per person fundraiser for US President Barack Obama. The duo efforts raised $2M dollars that will go to Obama’s re-election bid. Hathaway has been a long-time supporter of Obama, she was seen at his inauguration festivities back in 2009 and once told People magazine that she would like to work in the White House as nanny to Obama’s daughters Sasha and Malia. Obama meanwhile praised the hollywood actress saying that he had seen the movie the Dark Knight Rises and that Hathaway’s “spectacular” performance as Catwoman was “the best thing in it.”

Read more on ABC News.