The wRap


Your World in 10 - January 4, 2013

Crime

1. Gunman on rampage, kills kids



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A gunman armed with a semi-automatic pistol killed at least 7 people, including 2 kids, and wounded 9 others in a rundown residential area in Kawit, Cavite on Friday morning, January 4. The rampage ended when the gunman, identified as Ronald Bae alias "Bossing," was shot dead in a gun battle with police. "He was just shooting at anyone, bystanders, market vendors," said a police official. The shooting comes amid a debate over the country's lawless gun culture, which was sparked by the death of a 7-year-old girl who was shot in the head by celebratory gunfire on New Year's Eve. Stephanie Ella and her father were watching a fireworks display outside their home in Caloocan when a bullet, fired by a person welcoming in the New Year, hit her. Malacañang said President Aquino will have to weigh in on calls for tighter gun control following Ella’s death and that of other children who became victims of stray bullets during the New Year revelry.


Read the full story on Rappler





Religion

2. 8-M Catholics prepare for Black Nazarene



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Up to 8-M devotees join the annual procession of the Black Nazarene, a 17th-century mulatto image of Jesus Christ, which Filipinos closely relate to and is believed to cause miracles. Held on January 9, the procession in Manila, which will culminate at the Quiapo church, brings together devotees from all walks of life, including politicians and celebrities. Last year's celebration was a cause for worry in the face of a supposed terrorist threat, prompting government to shut down cell phone services in the area then. The police and the military have given assurances this won't be necessary in this year's celebration. Over 3,000 cops will be deployed to secure the procession area.

Read the full story on Rappler





Gang Rape

3. Women strip, beat up Indian pol



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Women stripped and beat up an Indian politician arrested by the police on charges he raped a woman, The New York Times reported. The newspaper on January 4 said TV footage showed several women smacking Bikram Singh Bhrama, a member of the Congress Party in Assam, on the face and ripping off his shirt. Brahma reportedly raped the woman on January 2 while he was staying at her family’s house. The Indian police have separately charged 5 men with murder, kidnapping and rape following the fatal gang-rape of a 23-year-old student in New Delhi which appalled the nation. Protesters have massed in Indian cities daily since the assault to demand the government and police take sex crimes more seriously, with tougher penalties for offenders and even chemical castration among measures being considered.

Read the full story on NY Times





Politics

4. Party-list breaks tradition



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The representative of the party-list Akbayan has been appointed as caretaker of Dinagat Islands and has since been given control of the development funds allotted for the province’s lone congressional district. Administration critics say this boosts the chances of Rep Kaka Bag-ao as a candidate for district representative of the province, whose former representative, Ruben Ecleo, was expelled by Congress in July 2012. It is the first time since the country elected party-list representatives 14 years ago that a sectoral nominee has been given power over a district. As caretaker, Bag-ao has so far received about P137 million in Ecleo’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or "pork barrel" meant for Ecleo’s district. In contrast, lawmakers who have been critical of President Benigno Aquino III and of Akbayan have not been receiving their pork barrel.

Read the full story on Rappler




Disasters

5. Storms, floods caused $160-B damage



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Natural catastrophes including US hurricane Sandy caused $160 billion worth of damage in 2012, based on estimates by the world's leading reinsurer, Munich Re. About 67% of overall losses and 90% of insured losses were attributable to the US, with the year's highest insured loss caused by Hurricane Sandy, with an estimated amount of around $25 billion, the reinsurer said. Overall, global losses were significantly lower in 2012 than in the previous year, when record figures were posted due to the earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand and severe floods in Thailand, Munich Re continued. In terms of fatalities, about 9,500 people lost their lives in natural catastrophes last year compared with 27,200 in 2011 and a 10-year average of 106,000.



Read the full story on Rappler




Media

6. Deadly year for journalists



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The year 2012 was one of the deadliest on record for journalists, with 141 killed in 29 different countries and Syria the most dangerous place on earth for reporters, according to the Swiss-based Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), which fights for the protection of journalists. The figure was up by 31% in 2011. At least 37 journalists, among them 13 working for foreign media, were killed in Syria. The situation in Somalia has also deteriorated dramatically, where 19 were killed, said the PEC. Three Latin American countries followed among the most dangerous places: Mexico with 11 journalists killed, Brazil also with 11 dead, and Honduras, where six journalists were killed. The Philippines ranked number 7 with 6 killed.

Read the full story on Rappler




Banking

7. Oldest Swiss bank to close after tax evasion fine



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Wegelin, Switzerland's oldest bank, will close down after pleading guilty to charges it helped Americans evade their taxes. The guilty plea was made by the bank at a New York court, which also ordered Wegelin to pay US authorities fines of US$57.8 million. Established in 1741, the bank had admitted to allowing Americans to hide an estimated $1.2 billion from the Inland Revenue Service for a decade, according to BBC. Wegelin becomes the first foreign bank to plead guilty to tax evasion charges in the US.

Read the full story on BBC




Internet

8. US ends antitrust probe on Google



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US regulators closed a lengthy antitrust probe on Google on January 3, saying there was not enough evidence to show the Internet giant manipulated its search results to harm its competitors. But they won commitments from the company to end its "most troubling" practices. Google has been accused of manipulating its search engine results to harm its rivals. While it was not punished, the tech giant vowed to "stop the most troubling of its business practices related to Internet search and search advertising." Google has close to 70% of the search market in the United States, and more in some other markets. Google's critics were disappointed by the decision and said this was by no means the last word in this case.

Read more on Rappler




Social Media

9. Chaotic, memorable, viral



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The year 2012 can be remembered as the year social media's reach and influence grew tremendously. Facebook has more than a billion users; Twitter users post hundreds of tweets a second; dozens of hours worth of video are uploaded to YouTube per minute; and in hundreds more social networking sites, people share and post things nonstop, creating a chaotic yet exciting web of information that spans the whole planet. From the US election to the trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona, to "Gangnam" and "Call Me Maybe," to "Ermagherd," the year showed the power social networks and the promise it holds for the future. Some of the events that stood out were the elections in the US and in dozens other countries; the Olympic and Paralympic Games; the Curiosity rover landing on Mars; the diamond jubilee of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II; and the Higgs Boson discovery. There were times, however, when we acted like an online lynch mob, letting our rage get the better of us. We saw it in the case of the viral video "Amalayer."

Read the full story on Rappler




Entertainment

10. Steve Jobs movie, 'jOBS,' out April



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The first film based on the life of legendary Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, will be released in April. Starring Ashton Kutcher as Jobs, the biopic will premier later this month on the closing night of the Sundance Film Festival, according to independent distributor Open Road Films. Written by Matthew Whitely and directed by Joshua Michael Stern, "jOBS" focuses on the Apple co-founder's life from 1971 through 2000. The screenplay is being written by Oscar winner Aaron Sorkin, whose works include "The Social Network," a play on the birth of Facebook.



Read the full story on Rappler