The wRap


Your World in 10 - June 7, 2013 Edition

Serendra Blast

1. Serendra blast caused by gas



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Gas caused the explosion at the Two Serendra that killed 3 and left 4 injured on May 31. The blast was most likely to have been caused by combustion or reaction of chemical substances like gas, Dr CP David of the Department of Science and Technology said Friday, June 7. The blast had characteristics of a gas explosion. The site had "minimal post explosion residue, no cratering, flame that dissipated instantly, and minimal charring," David said.


Read the full story on Rappler.




Prism Data Mining

2. US secretly mining data from web companies



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US intelligence agencies are accessing the servers of 9 Internet giants as part of a secret data mining program likely to fuel fresh debate about government surveillance, it was reported Thursday, June 6. The Washington Post reported that the National Security Agency (NSA) and the FBI had direct access to servers which allowed them to track an individual's web presence via audio, video, photographs, emails and connection logs. The newspaper cited details of a briefing on the top secret program called PRISM, intended for analysts at the NSA's Signals Intelligence Directorate in April. While a number of web companies were reportedly involved in the program, including Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Apple, PalTalk, AOL, Skype and YouTube, some of the companies have countered the report, denying opening doors for US intelligence agencies to mine data from their servers.


Read the stories on Rappler here and here.




World

3. Turkey PM Erdogan demands 'immediate end' to protests



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Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday, June 7, demanded an "immediate end" to a week of protests against his rule that have sparked deadly unrest, speaking after landing back in the country from a trip abroad. "I call for an immediate end to the demonstrations, which have lost their democratic credentials and turned into vandalism," he told a yelling crowd of supporters at an Istanbul airport.


Read the full story on Rappler.




RH Law

4. SC proposes to trim down issues on RH law



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Supreme Court Associate Justice Jose Catral Mendoza proposed to trim down the issues that will be covered in the oral arguments for the controversial reproductive health law (RH law). During the pre-oral argument at the Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday, June 6, Mendoza suggested 3 issues to be covered for the RH Law arguments: 

1) Proscription against involuntary servitude/equal protection clause; 
2) Right to life/freedom of religion/natural law; and
 3) freedom of speech/academic freedom.

 The respondents and intervenors agreed on Mendoza’s proposal, but petitioners “asked for more time to discuss among themselves the issues that they want to raise during the oral arguments.”


Read the full story on Rappler.




US Phone Monitoring

5. US defends phone call monitoring as terrorism 'tool'



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The US government Thursday, June 6 said a top spy agency was using a "crucial tool" against terrorism by sweeping up domestic telephone records, but new revelations on the program sparked a swift backlash. One civil liberties group branded the practice, authorized by a top secret court order, as "beyond Orwellian" while others argued the idea of a massive dragnet encompassing tens of millions of phone records was unconstitutional. The program, which began under the Bush administration, apparently does not monitor the content of telephone calls or who is making them, but provides "metadata" on phone numbers used and the duration of calls.


Read the full story on Rappler.




Nation

6. Senate adjourns, fails to ratify extradition treaties



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The 15th Congress closed with the Senate failing to ratify extradition treaties with 3 countries due to a lack of quorum. The Senate adjourned sine die on Thursday, June 6, without ratifying extradition treaties with India, the United Kingdom, and Spain. The ratification of the 3 treaties was listed in the Senate agenda but, without quorum, the chamber failed to take up the resolutions. Resigned Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said there were only 11 senators present in Thursday’s session. Among those absent was resigned Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. His allies said he is resting. Senate rules require two-thirds or 16 senators to approve a resolution concurring in the ratification of the treaty.


Read the full story on Rappler.




Offensive Strip

7. Inquirer: Sorry for 'offensive' Pugad Baboy strip



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The Philippine Daily Inquirer on Thursday, June 6, issued a public apology for the controversial Pugad Baboy comic strip by cartoonist Pol Medina Jr. Calling Medina's cartoon "offensive," Inquirer publisher Raul Pangalangan clarified that Medina was not fired but his cartoon will not appear in the newspaper pending further investigation. The comic strip, which appeared in the Inquirer on Tuesday, June 4, depicted two characters talking about how hypocritical it is for Christians to denounce homosexuality when gays and lesbians are tolerated in Catholic all-girls schools. It went on to name St Scholastica's College as an example.


Read the full story on Rappler.




Putin Divorce

8. Russia's Putin, wife announce divorce



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Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila Thursday, June 6, announced their divorce after 3 decades of marriage, in a stunning revelation that ended years of speculation about their union. The pair, who has two daughters in their late 20s, made the announcement side-by-side in a joint interview with state television after watching a ballet performance inside the Kremlin. Persistent rumors have swirled for years around Putin's marriage and even alleged mistresses but until now there has been a total taboo over discussing his private life in mainstream Russian media. "It was a joint decision," Putin said in the interview with Rossia-24 television which appeared to have been carefully choreographed in advance.


Read the full story on Rappler.




Fighting Cybercrime

9. Global cybercrime ring targeted by Microsoft, FBI



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Microsoft on Wednesday, June 5, said it teamed with the FBI to disrupt armies of hacked computers used to commit more than a half-billion dollars in financial fraud around the world. A strike coordinated with police and financial institutions disabled more than a thousand "botnets" used by a global cybercrime operation to steal people's banking information and identities, according to the software colossus. Botnets are networks of computers infected with viruses that let them be controlled by hackers. An investigation launched early last year led Microsoft and its allies to malicious software called Citadel, which monitors keystrokes on infected machines and sends information such as account names and passwords to hackers. Cybercriminals used stolen passwords to take money from online bank accounts, according to Microsoft. Citadel 'malware' has infected millions of computers in more than 90 countries, with the highest numbers of infections found in Europe, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Australia, and the United States, Microsoft said.


Read the full story on Rappler.




Stopping Miss World

10. Indonesian Muslims vow to stop Miss World



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Islamic hardliners vowed Thursday to stop the "immoral" Miss World beauty pageant taking place in Indonesia even after organizers agreed this year's contestants would not wear bikinis. The Hizb ut-Tahrir group slammed the show as like "selling women's bodies" and threatened to hold demonstrations against it, while a group in the province where the final is due to take place also voiced strong opposition. More than 130 women will compete in the September event, with some rounds on the resort island of Bali and the final in Bogor outside Jakarta. Bogor is in West Java province, parts of which are considered a stronghold for radicals.


Read the full story on Rappler.