The wRap


Your World in 10 - December 12, 2012 Edition

NorKor Rocket

1. North Korea angers Philippines over rocket launch



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North Korea surprised the world by launching a long-range rocket on Wednesday, despite standing threats of UN sanctions over disguised military tests. North Korea insists the December 12-launch was for the purpose of putting a satellite into orbit, The Korean Central News Agency says the launch was successful and that, "the satellite has entered the orbit as planned." Parts of the rocket dropped into the sea off the Korean Peninsula and near the Philippines. Japan condemned the launch calling it "extremely regrettable" while Britain said it "deplored" North Korea's decision to go ahead to improve its people's welfare. In a statement released Wednesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs said that ,"the Philippines strongly condemns the launch" and has "firmly" urged North Korea to " desist from acts of provocation and to end its use or testing of ballistic missile technology."


Read more on Rappler here and here.




Opposition Allies

2. Obama recognizes Syrian opposition coalition



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In a long-awaited move US President Barack Obama recognized Syria's opposition as the "legitimate" representative of the nation's people joining France, Britain, Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council in recognizing the recently reconstituted opposition Syrian National Coalition. In an interview with ABC News Obama said, "We have made a decision that the Syrian opposition coalition is now inclusive enough, is reflective and representative enough of the Syrian population that we consider them the legitimate representative of the Syrian people." The move represents a milestone in the 21-month revolt against the administration of President Basher Al-Assad.


Read more on Rappler.




Prank Call

3. Aussie radio station pledges donation to nurse's family



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The Australian radio station whose DJs were behind the prank call to a UK hospital where a pregnant Duchess Catherine was confined last week says it will donate no less than $524,000 to the family of the nurse who answered the phone call, after it is believed that nurse killed herself because of the incident. The body of 46-year-old nurse Jacintha Saldanha was found dead outside her living quarters last Thursday, three days after she received the prank call from the DJs pretending to be Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles and put it through to the to the nurse in the ward. Public anger ensued over the incident, both DJs have apologized on their radio show. Sydney-based 2DayDM has set up a memorial fund for Saldanha where all advertising proceeds till the end of the year proceed will go into the fund.


Read more on CNN.




Rise Again

4. Pacquiao arrives in Manila, donates P-10M to Pablo victims



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Manny Pacquiao arrived in Manila today, December 12 following his loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas, Nevada last Sunday. Shortly after his arrival the boxing great faced members of the media saying he had expected to go all 12 rounds with Marquez but that at the end of the day, "it was Marquez's night." Pacquiao then promised, "Babangon tayo uli (we will rise again)". Pacquiao says he cried after his loss to Marquez because he wanted to make Filipinos happy especially in the wake of Typhoon Pablo. He then added that he would donate P-10 to the victims of the Typhoon that left 300 tuna fishermen in his city General Santos missing.

Read more on Rappler.




New Constitution

5. Tensions rise in Egpyt leading up to scheduled referendum



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Thousands continue to rally in the Egpytian capital city of Cairo, days before a scheduled referendum to ratify a new constitution. Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi called for the referendum to take place this Saturday but opposition leaders want the referendum scrapped citing that it was drafted by an Islamist-dominated assembly and that it weakens human rights. Opposition forces have converged outside the presidential palace now guarded by tanks and hundreds of soldiers. While supporters of Morsi rally in support at Tahrir Square.


Read more on the BBC.




Maguindanao Massacre

6. Zaldy Ampatuan pleads 'not guilty'



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Zaldy Ampatuan pleaded not guilty before a court trying him for his alleged involvement in the gruesome Maguindanao massacre 3 years ago. The former governor of the ARMM refused to enter a plea saying he wanted his lawyer to do it for him but this was rejected by QC-RTC judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes. Families of the victims of the massacre were present at the arraignment. The Ampatuan trial is on its third year. Out of the 196 accused in the massacre, 103 have been arrested and 82 arraigned including Zaldy Ampatuan.


Read more on Rappler.




#IamforPeace

7. 34th round of GPH, MILF peace talks start



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The government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, along with their respective Technical Working Groups reconvened for the 34th Round for Formal Exploratory Talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Wednesday, December 12. At the helm of the government peace panel is University of the Philippines Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer who takes over from newly appointed Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen. MILF chief negotiator Mohager says this round of negotiations will cover a "substantial part" of the normalization annex which covers issues of policing, decommissioning and gradual redeployment of government forces.


Read more on Rappler.




In the Clear

8. Venezuelan President undergoes 'successful' cancer surgery



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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez successfully underwent surgery to remove cancerous tissue in Cuba according his Vice President Nicolas Maduro. This is Chavez's fourth cancer-related surgery since June 2011. Over the weekend Chavez, in a televised speech, acknowledged the seriousness of the situation even acknowledging Maduro as his preferred successor. Maduro, who called the operation a "complete success" says that after the six-hour operation, "we lived through complex moments of tension."


Read more on the BBC.




Papal Tweet

9. Pope Benedict XVI will start tweeting today



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Earlier this month the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVI begin tweeting from his own personal account @pontifex - the pope's first tweet is expected today. The pope is expected to personally hit the send button on his first tweet, written in his own words but pre-drafted in 8 languages. As promised the pope will answer questions, three at the least, officials from the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Social Communications will oversee the Twitter exchange. Twitter Innovation chief Claire Diaz-Ortiz is in Rome to personally oversee the historic event. Earlier today she tweeted, "I'm thrilled to be prepping with the Vatican team for this morning's first papal tweet."


Read more on the Washington Post.




Close Call

10. Asteroid sweeps past Earth on 'dooms day'



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Today is 12-12-12 the day the world is supposed to end - at least according to the Mayan calendar and while the earth is still in one piece early this morning, astronomers report of a close call. Early Wednesday morning a newly discovered asteroid skimmed past the Earth about 226,000km from the earth. The asteroid passed through the Earth's shadow and created an asteroid shadow. In 2011, a small asteroid missed the Earth just by 5,400 kilometers.


Read more at Universe Today and the Washington Post.