The wRap


Your World in 10 - February 21, 2013 Edition

PH Politics

1. UNA junks Chiz, Loren, Grace Poe



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The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on February 21 decided to drop from its slate the 3 senatorial candidates it shares with Team PNoy: re-electionist senators Loren Legarda and Francis "Chiz" Escudero, and former censors chief Grace Poe. In a statement, UNA campaign manager Toby Tiangco said: "We would have wanted and were looking forward to having them join our 9 UNA candidates in our rallies and sorties. We tried our best to accommodate them." UNA decided "that it is no longer obligated to include the names of Chiz Escudero, Loren Legarda and Grace Poe-Llamanzares in its list of candidates."

Read the full story on Rappler



Business

2. PSEi to hit 7,400 - analyst



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Online brokerage firm COL Financial Philippines forecast in a February 20 briefing that Philippine Stock Exchange main index (PSEi) will breach the 7,400 mark in 2013. “The Philippines has a positive long term outlook and boasts of relatively attractive fundamentals globally," said April Lynn Tan, COL Financial's research head. "Interest rates will also most likely remain low for the rest of the year, sustaining the prevailing liquidity driven rally,” she added.

Read more on Rappler




Nation

3. NPA raid a warning to plantations



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The simultaneous raids launched by New People’s Army guerrillas in Bukidnon Tuesday evening, February 19, were meant as a punitive action against plantations that the rebel army said have contributed to the deterioration of agricultural lands in the area. Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos, spokesman of the National Democratic Front-Mindanao, said the attacks were prompted by the demands of the indigenous peoples and farmers in the province “whose ancestral lands have been seized, plundered, despoiled and poisoned by big foreign multinational corporations." The NDF is the political arm of the NPA.

Read more on Rappler




Gaming

4. Sony announces PS4 for 2013 holidays



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Sony has announced the PlayStation 4 as its next generation platform. Sony's new console will take advantage of a "supercharged PC architecture," an X86 processor, and 8GB of GDDRR5 unified system memory, as well as Gaikai streaming technology to provide a faster, robust gaming network with better online play and streaming play while downloading games from the PlayStation store. While no prices have been listed for the new console, it is expected to become available during the 2013 holiday season.

Read more on Rappler




Space

5. Rover finds gray rock beneath Red Planet's surface



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NASA said on February 20 that its Curiosity rover has scooped up a sample from the interior of a Martian rock and found that the powdery soil just beneath the planet's rust-colored exterior is actually a light gray color. "Something that the science team is really excited about, is the fact that the tailings from our drill operation aren't the typical rusty orange-red that we associate with just about everything on Mars," said Joel Hurowitz, sampling system scientist for Curiosity. NASA scientists said the hue of the Martian rock, once the sample is subjected to further study, may reveal some intriguing clues about the history and composition of Earth's closest neighbor.

Read more on Rappler




Premeditated Murder?

6. Screams, gunshots heard in Pistorius home



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Prosecution witnesses told invetigators they heard screams and gunshots from the house of athlete Oscar Pistorius on the night his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was killed. During the bail hearing of Pistorius on Wednesday, February 20, the prosecution said a witness had testified hearing “non-stop talking like fighting” between 2:00 and 3:00 am on February 14. Another witness said he “heard gunshots, he went to this balcony and saw the light was on. Then he heard a female screaming two-three times, then more gunshots,” chief investigative officer Hilton Botha told the court. This contradicts claims by Pistorius he was asleep until moments before the shooting, and that there was no argument between him and Steenkamp. The BBC reported that based on the judge’s questioning, the magistrate may however grant bail to Pistorius who has denied the premeditated murder of his girlfriend, saying he mistook her for an intruder. Under questioning, Botha said the witness who heard the screams was 600m away then amended it to 300m after a lunch break.

Read the full story on BBC

A related story on Pistorius claim he had no intention of killing his girlfriend is on Rappler.




The Vatican

7. Pope may call for earlier election conclave



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Pope Benedict XVI may just decide to call for an earlier election of his successor. The Vatican said on Wednesday, February 20, this could happen in March by virtue of a decree issued by the pope. He may, however, stop short of setting a formal framework for future resignations. The decree would have to be issued before Benedict formally resigns on February 28 at 1900 GMT (March 1, 3:00 am, Manila time). Historian Ambrogio Piazzoni said the pope is “the only one who can legislate until the last minute. In 1996, the Apostolic Constitution promulgated by then pope John Paul II states the conclave should start 15 and 20 days after the start of the popeless interregnum, often after the death of a pope. The delay allows cardinals from all over the world to gather in Rome and organize a funeral. Benedict is only the second pope to have resigned in the Church’s 2,000-year history.

Read the full story on Rappler

Read a related story on the cardinal elections in the Huffington Post




Business

8. IKEA coming to PH



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Filipinos may soon get a taste of small space furniture solutions offered by Swedish furniture giant Ikea. This is as soon as the application of Ikano Retail Asia, an Ikea franchisee in the region, is approved by the Swedisn firm. “I think we can open 3 stores here tomorrow. The market is very ready for it,” Ikano managing director Christian Rojkjaer said during an investment briefing for a Swedish delegation at the trade and industry department on Wednesday, February 20. In Southeast Asia, Ikano was granted franchising rights for Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. The plan is for Ikano to open 3 shops in Manila, after which, they will look at moving outside of the capital. “We have a very rigid and structured assessment process as to where to put stores because they are so big – 40,000 square-meter stores. We need the volume. Without it, Ikea can’t work,” Rojkjaer said.

Read the full story on Rappler




Technology

9. Crowdfunding startup wins Apps4Africa prize



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A Ghanaian start-up, Slicebiz, which plans to popularize crowdfunding in Africa is among the winners of the Apps4Africa competition. It will develop a service that will deliver 30-second pitches recorded by entrepreneurs to potential investors over the phone. Founded by Ghana-based businessman William Edem Senyo, SliceBiz is adapting the crowdfunding model popular in the West through online services Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe, among others. Those who buy into the pitches will be able to transfer cash ranging from US$250 (via mobile devices) and $100,000 (via traditional banking means) to fund projects they want to support. Funded by the US State Department and the World Bank, Apps4Africa gives awards of $US10,000 to 3 selected projects, with the possibility of top-up funds if winners meet set targets. The crowdfunding initiative taps people with disposable income who want to see how they can use their funds for better use.

Read the full story on BBC




Social Media

10. Twitter’s happiest states



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The happiest state: Hawaii. The happiest city: Napa, California. This is according to a recent study of geotagged tweets conducted by researchers at the University of Vermont. The researchers sifted through more than 10 million geotagged tweets from 2011 to map out the moods of Americans in urban areas. CNN reported that the researchers ranked the locations “based on frequency of positive and negative words using the Mechanical Turk Language Assessment word list.” Happy words include LOL and haha, as well as “good, nice, sleep and wine, and food or beach-related words.” Considered sad words are mad, hate, no, boo, and expletives. According to the list, “earthquake” is one of the saddest words, while “rainbow” is one of the happiest. Researchers pointed out that in the US, only 15% of adults online use Twitter, and may not accurately represent the demographics of the US. Nevertheless, the research shows that social networks have a lot of promise for these survey types.

Read the full story on CNN