The wRap


Your World in 10 - February 20, 2013 Edition

Territorial Dispute

1. China reiterates territorial claim, rejects arbitration



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China formally rejected the arbitral proceedings initiated by the Philippines to resolve its territorial dispute over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). In its diplomatic communication, China "reiterated its often stated position that it has indisputable sovereignty over the entire South China Sea encompassed by its 9-dash line claim." The DFA called this claim “excessive” adding that it was a core issue of the Philippines’ arbitration case against China. The department stressed that "China’s action will not interfere with the process of Arbitration initiated by the Philippines," and that a 5-member arbitration panel will be formed, “with or without China."


Read more on Rappler.




Fallen Hero

2. Pistorius claims mistaking girlfriend for murderer



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South African Olympic hero Oscar Pistorius returns to court Wednesday facing a tough fight to
win bail as the prosecution fleshes out charges that he deliberately gunned down his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day. During Tuesday’s hearing Pistorius tearfully denied the premeditated murder of Steenkamp, telling a court he shot at her through a locked bathroom door believing she was an intruder. The 26-year-old double amputee 'Blade Runner' track star broke down in tears repeatedly as his own words filled the court: "We were deeply in love and couldn't be more happy."

Read more on CNN.




#WeatherAlert

3. Thousands affected by “Crising”



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One person was killed while more than 80,000 residents were affected as tropical depression "Crising" caused flooding and landslides in Mindanao. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said a total of 17, 374 families or 87,139 residents in 57 barangay in Region 10 and 11 were affected by the recent weather disturbance. At least 735 families or 3,568 persons are presently taking shelter in more than 7 designated evacuation centers.
The lone fatality was identified as Francisco Digaynon who drowned while trying to cross the Taytayan River in Barangay Andap, New Bataan in Compostela Valley. In response to the disaster, the Department of Social Welfare and Development prepositioned P15,528,181.68 worth of standby funds and P24,121,258 worth of relief supplies in areas along the path of "Crising."


Read more on Rappler.




Diamond Heist

4. Thieves pull off $50M diamond heist in Belgium airport



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Thieves in Belgium pulled off a diamond heist at the Brussels International Airport stealing approximately $50M worth of precious stones. Prosecutors are calling it the biggest diamond theft in recent years. Armed men broke through a hole in the airport security gate and took the cargo from airport personnel at gunpoint. The cargo had just been unloaded from a Helvetic Airways passenger plane. The ease at which the heist took place raised questions about security measures at Brussels airport.


Read more on the Guardian.




#PHvote

5. Tearful Poe at Cebu rally



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A tearful Grace Poe stood before Cebuanos at Team PNoy's campaign rally in Talisay City, last Tuesday February 19. Cebu is the province that she said stole the presidency from his father, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr, in 2004. "FPJ lost here in Cebu by a very big margin," she noted. Poe says what made the loss in Cebu more painful, she said, was that her father grew up in this province. Poe was not present at the proclamation rally of the United Nationalist Alliance in Cebu last week. She says the reason she was absent was because of what "a few people" have done to her family in the past. Although she did not name names she was apparently referring to the family of suspended Gov Gwendolyn Garcia.

Read more on Rappler.




Government Funds?

6. Activists want Comelec to look into use of gov’t funds in campaign



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Activists filed an appeal before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday, February 20, to investigate President Benigno Aquino III over his alleged use of government funds to campaign for the administration ticket. Aquino, through his local allies, allegedly distributed Philhealth cards and 3 kilos of rice to indigent residents last Thursday, February 14. Publishing a statement from Philhealth, the Palace earlier denied the claim that it uses the national health insurance program for the administration's campaign.In their letter to Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes Jr, however, the activists blasted Aquino for his “super roadshow political campaign since the start of the campaign season.” They particularly called attention to the supposed distribution of Philhealth cards and rice in Loon, Bohol, on the same day that the opposition group United Nationalist Alliance was holding its Bohol sortie.


Read more on Rappler.




Prehistoric Crater

7. Asteroid impact zone found in Australia



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Scientists have discovered a massive 200-kilometer impact zone in the Australian outback they believe was caused by an asteroid which smashed into Earth more than 300 million years ago.

Andrew Glikson, a visiting fellow at the Australian National University, said the asteroid measuring 10 to 20 kilometres in diameter was a giant compared to the plunging meteor which exploded above Russia a week ago. Gikson called the find a “new discovery," it’s size, now a minimum of 200km in diameter, “makes it about the third biggest anywhere in the world."

Read more on Breitbart.




Cyber Intruders

8. Apple admits being hit by hackers, no data at risk



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Apple on Tuesday, February 19, said it was hit by hackers who wormed their way into the California company's system but evidently failed to steal any data. Apple said it is working with law enforcement officials to hunt down the hackers, who appeared tied to a series of recent cyber attacks on US technology firms. A "small number" of computer systems at Apple were infected but they were isolated from the main network, according the Silicon Valley based company. Representatives from Apple say there is no evidence that any data left Apple, it took the added steps of releasing a Mac OS update that disables Java software on computers that haven’t been used for 35 days or longer and a tool for finding and removing the malware.


Read more on Rappler.




Technology

9. HTC unveils new flagship smartphone



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HTC unveiled a new flagship smartphone Tuesday, February 19. Dubbed the HTC One, the Android phone sports a 4.7-inch full HD 1080p screen and runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.7GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. One of the phone’s key features is its UltraPixel Camera, which uses advanced imaging technology to deliver better quality pictures. The UltraPixel camera does this "not by increasing the number of megapixels in the camera, but by engineering a more advanced system that captures significantly more light that most cameras in its class. HTC has yet to announce a price, and according to the press release for the HTC One, no Philippine carrier has been designated for the smartphone's March launch.

Read more on Engadget.




Lost Penguin

10. 'Happy Feet Jr.' found stranded in New Zealand



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A penguin dubbed Happy Feet junior has been found stranded 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) from home in New Zealand, reviving memories of another wayward penguin that washed up in 2011. The latest wandering stray was discovered close to death on the coast south of Wellington over the weekend and taken to the capital's zoo suffering from malnutrition and kidney failure. Wellington Zoo veterinary surgeon Lisa Argilla said it was a juvenile royal penguin, which had drifted far from a breeding colony in sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island and was believed to be the first ever seen in the North Island. The original Happy Feet, named after the hit 2006 animated film, was an emperor penguin stranded near Wellington in June 2011, attracting worldwide interest during its eight-week recuperation at the zoo. If the latest penguin makes a recovery it will be released off the coast of the South Island, where royal penguins occasionally turn up, and left to swim back home.

Read more on TVNZ.