The wRap


Your World in 10 - February 15, 2013 Edition

Russia

1. Meteorite explosion hurts hundreds



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Residents of the Russian town of Satka, in the Chelyabinsk region, were injured as a meteorite streaked across the town and exploded on Friday, February 15. An Agence France-Presse report said over 250 were injured.


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Diplomacy

2. Kerry comments on Tubbataha



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The United States will share with the Philippines all its information on the grounding of the USS Guardian in Tubbataha and consult Manila before publishing the results of its probe into the incident. US Secretary of State John Kerry made these assurances to Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario in a telephone conversation last night, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on February 14. The Americans are willing for US Navy high-ranking officials to "accept and answer queries" from Philippine investigators, Kerry told Del Rosario. The USS Guardian ran aground on January 17 inside the protected area of the marine park, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a paradise for scuba divers.


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South China Sea

3. National Bookstore pulls Chinese-made globes



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National Bookstore has withdrawn Chinese-made globes showing Beijing's claims to most of the South China Sea from its shelves, a government spokesman said Thursday, February 14. In a statement, foreign office spokesman Raul Hernandez said, "The National Bookstore has withdrawn all the educational globes, which reflect China's nine-dash line encompassing the South China Sea, from its stores." He said the decision to pull out the globes came after a dialogue with the bookstore management, which claimed they were unaware of the "misinformation" contained in the education materials. China's 9-dash line outlines its claims to virtually all of the South China Sea, even waters close to the shores of its neighbors.


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Security

4. Obama on drones: Public deserves more info



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In a Google+ Fireside Hangout last February 14, US President Barack Obama said Americans needed more than just his word to be assured he was not misusing his powers in waging a secret drone war overseas. Asked about the debate over drone usage, Obama replied, "It is not sufficient for citizens to just take my word for it that we are doing the right thing," Obama said. Debate about the use of drones has slowly been mounting following the September 2011 killing in Yemen of cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a senior Al-Qaeda operative who was an American citizen.


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Vatican

5. Pope hit head in past trip



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The Vatican has confirmed a report that Pope Benedict XVI hit his head and bled during a trip to Mexico last year but said the incident had no bearing on his decision to step down. An aide who was on the trip with the 85-year-old pontiff recounted the incident to the Italian daily La Stampa. The Vatican's official daily, L'Osservatore Romano, this week said the incident during the trip to Mexico and Cuba last March helped the pope make up his mind to step down as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.


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Elections

6. 'No malicious code' in PCOS



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On February 14, The Commission on Elections released an expert committee's certification that it is safe to use its old Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines on election day, countering claims that the PCOS had exploitable vulnerabilities. Citing a report by the Denver-based SLI Global Solutions, a poll technical evaluation committee (TEC) said the automated election system (AES) “can operate properly, securely, and accurately.” In a report submitted to the committee, SLI said the “critical” or “major” programming issues concerning the PCOS machines “have been resolved.” It added: “There were no instances discovered of any intentionally malicious code having been written by the vendor and included in the voting system source code."


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Economy

7. PH is one of world's sexiest



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Foreign businessmen, bankers, fund managers are quietly making their way into the Philippines, swelling attendance in business events in Manila and dollar inflows into local capital markets.They are making a vote of confidence on the Philippines not just with their presence but with their pockets. The peso has kept on strengthening against the dollar, while the Philippine Stock Exchange is on a roll breaking record highs. Fund manager Simon Bailey explains why: If the different countries in the world are having a party, the Philippines is the most attractive one in the room.


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Crime

8. Pistorius girlfriend shot by his gun in head, hand



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Police arrested South African Paralympic gold medallist Oscar Pistorius after allegedly shooting dead his girlfriend after mistaking her for an intruder. Police added Oscar Pistorius's girlfriend was shot four times, in the head and the hand, by bullets fired from a gun owned by the South African sprint star. "She was hit by four shots," said police spokeswoman Denise Beukes, adding that wounds have been found in the head and the hand. "It's a 9mm pistol. It is a licensed firearm. It is licensed to Mr Pistorius."


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Technology

9. LINE messaging app launches in PH



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On February 14, NHN Corporation announced the official launch of its messaging application LINE for Philippine markets. LINE is a multi-functional messaging app with a number of additional services and social networking elements embedded into the app for personalization and expression. According to NHN, plans for LINE in the Philippines include localized content specific to Pinoys. LINE also intends to outsource game creation for the service through the cooperation of Philippine game developers.


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Remember AI?

10. Jessica Sanchez wows Manila



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Jessica Sanchez, the powerhouse vocalist from Season 11 of "American Idol," overcame an apparent case of hoarseness to wow her Filipino fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on February 14. Last year’s runner-up in the reality TV singing competition performed nearly flawless renditions of her signature power ballad covers and received a standing ovation for a stirring delivery of the Tagalog classic, “Ikaw.” The 17-year-old Sanchez headlined her own concert at The Big Dome after performing with her fellow Idol contestants in September last year. She was supported by finalist Colton Dixon, who placed 7th in the competition overall.


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