The wRap


Your World in 10 - February 27, 2013 Edition

Nation

1. Sultan wants talks with Aquino



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The self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu wants to sit down with the governments of the Philippines and Malaysia before he tells his "royal army" to leave Sabah, Jamalul Kiram III's spokesman said on Tuesday, February 26. “What we need now is a mutual understanding,” Abraham Idjirani explained during a press conference at the sultan's residence in Taguig. Asked to reply to President Benigno Aquino III's appeal to end the standoff in Sabah, Idjirani welcomed the statement and said it is development on the right track."


Read more on Rappler




US Budget

2. US leaders squabble despite warnings on budget cuts



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US President Barack Obama on Tuesday, February 26, warned of potential devastation from looming spending cuts, but the bickering in Washington suggested lawmakers are too far apart to strike a timely compromise. Even as the Federal Reserve chairman sounded the alarm 72 hours before $85 billion in sequester cuts begin to bite, the president's top Senate ally said he would prefer the budget ax to a deal that did not raise new tax revenues.


Read more on Rappler




US Defense

3. US Senate confirms Hagel as Defense Secretary



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The United States Senate confirmed Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense Tuesday, ending a long and acrimonious nomination process and handing President Barack Obama a boost as he fills his second-term cabinet. After a bruising confirmation hearing and a 10-day delay engineered by Republicans, Senators voted 58-41 to approve the former Republican senator and decorated Vietnam War veteran for the post held by Leon Panetta. Hagel, 66, who had faced tough questions about his past statements on Iran's nuclear program and US-Israeli relations, is due to be sworn in on Wednesday. Obama welcomed the "bipartisan confirmation," saying it allowed him to "have the defense secretary our nation needs and the leader our troops deserve."


Read more on Rappler




Talk Thursday

4. #TalkThursday with Irwin Ver



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TalkThursday talks to Irwin Ver, the son of Fabian Ver, the alleged mastermind of the Benigno Aquino Jr's assassination. Irwin was also the chief of then President Ferdinand Marcos' guards. Irwin Ver also tells his first-person account of the relationship between Fabian and Juan Ponce Enrile. Irwin says his father "revered" Enrile and had remained friends after the ouster. He also belies other allegations made in Enrile's memoir.


Read more on Rappler




Israel vs Palestine

5. Rocket explodes in Israel, first attack from Gaza since November truce



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The United Nations condemned the firing of a rocket from Gaza into Israel which it said had broken the longest ceasefire between the two sides in recent years. Gaza militants fired the rocket in what they said was a response to the death of a Palestinian prisoner in an Israeli jail at the weekend. There are mounting international fears that serious new unrest could erupt in the Palestinian territories. After several days of unrest, a measure of calm returned to the West Bank on Tuesday, despite an early-morning rocket from Gaza. Israeli military officials quoted by Maariv newspaper expressed optimism that the "wave of riots would subside and would not lead to a third intifada." The military had on Monday noted "a drop in the number of incidents" while assessing that "the violence would continue at least until the arrival of US President Barack Obama on March 20." The top-level trip, which will include talks in Jerusalem and Ramallah, will be the first time Obama has visited Israel and the Palestinian territories since taking over as president in 2008.

Read more on Reuters




Nation

6. Condez, Boracay and a land dispute



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After almost 3 years of fighting for their right to their ancestral land in Boracay, Dexter Condez is now home. He is but a cold corpse though, his body now with the other members of the Ati Tribal community in Barangay Manoc-Manoc in Malac, Boracay. Dominique Ofong, one of the community organizers from the Assisi Development Foundation that worked with Condez, told Rappler that his body will be laid to rest on March 2. Condez, 26, was shot by an unidentified man on February 22 while he was on his way home from a meeting. The Indigenous Peoples Council of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) condemned his killing.

Read more on Rappler




Lethal Spill

7. 125,000 lethal doses of cyanide spill in Japan factory accident



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At least five tonnes of liquid waste containing sodium cyanide, equivalent to 125,000 lethal doses of cyanide spewed out of a tank after it was hit by a snowplough at a plating factory in Hanamaki, northern Japan, on Tuesday, Feb 26. One liter of the toxic liquid waste, used to remove nickel plating from surfaces, is enough to kill 25 people, the official said. The leak occurred when workers were trying to remove piles of snow from the site, which has seen severe winter weather over the last week, and damaged a valve on the tank in which the chemical was stored. An official said snow absorbed most of the liquid and clean-up workers have been able to collect the contaminated snow. He adds, "The leak has not reached a nearby river and we have not received any reports of impact on people."

Read more on Herald Sun




World

8. Tourists killed in Egypt hot air balloon explosion



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A hot air balloon caught fire and exploded as it was flying over Egypt's ancient temple city of Luxor on Tuesday, February 26, killing 19 tourists, a security official said. An employee at the company operating the balloon told AFP the tourists were from Korea, Japan and Britain, as well as one Egyptian. "This is terrible, just terrible," the employee told AFP by telephone in floods of tears, declining to give her name. "We don't yet know what happened exactly or what went wrong," she said. The two survivors, including the balloon's pilot, were taken to the hospital.


Read more on Rappler




#PHVote

9. Oversized? Bacolod church slices RH poster into 2



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Three days after the Diocese of Bacolod was notified by the election commission to take down the tarpaulin that did not comply with the prescribed size for campaign materials, the Catholic church here hung the tarpaulin again on Tuesday, February 26. Make that "tarpaulins." The Bacolod Cathedral sliced the original 6 feet by 10 feet material into two, so each part now complies with the prescibed size of 2 feet by 3 feet. Hung with one below the other outside the cathedral, the "conscience vote" material in effect looked the same as the original one-piece vertical tarpaulin. On top is the list of "Team Buhay" 5 senatorial candidates and 2 party-list groups, and below it is the "Team Patay" of 7 senatorial aspirants and 4 party-list groups. A church worker said they plan to hang similar banners all over the Negros island.


Read more on Rappler




Music

10. Global music sales rise for first time since 1999



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The music industry announced Tuesday, February 26, the first lift in global sales since 1999, suggesting that the long-awaited fightback against the digital revolution has begun. Sales rose 0.3 percent to $16.5 billion in 2012, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents some 1,400 record companies worldwide. The growth may be modest, but for an industry that appeared to be in terminal decline as it also battled against rampant Internet piracy, it was almost cause to break into song.


Read more on Rappler