The wRap


Your World in 10 - May 20, 2014 Edition

Sea Borders

1. PH and Indonesia boundary agreement “triumph of law”



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Ending 20 years of negotiations, the Philippines and Indonesia will sign an agreement to draw a boundary between the countries’ overlapping exclusive economic zones (EEZs) in the Mindanao Sea and Celebes Sea. Described as a triumph for international law, this will make it clear for Filipino and Indonesian fishermen which parts of the sea they can explore and exploit for resources. Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and his Indonesian counterpart, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, will sign the agreement – the fruit of a series of meetings since June 1994. In stark contrast, the Philippines territorial row with China has escalated in the past year, with the Philippines filing a case before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Read the full story on Rappler.

Read related story on Rappler.




Defaced

2. Filipino hackers attack Chinese websites



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A Filipino group of hackers calling itself "Anonymous Philippines" claimed responsibility for the hacking of 195 Chinese websites, according to a post on its Facebook page. On each hacked site, the message, "China's alleged claim on maritime territories and oppressive poaching can no longer be tolerated. Stand against Oppression! It's time to fight back! Say NO to China's Bullying!" is displayed. The hacking was signed PHCA, Anonymous Philippines, Digital Nodes, Family Pride, and Xhint Knowsz. Earlier this month, Chinese fishers were arrested off the coast of Palawan for capturing endangered animals. The issue came amid rising tensions between the Philippines and China over territorial disputes.

See the list of hacked websites here.




Cyber-Espionage

3. US charges Chinese officers with hacking



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The US charged five Chinese army officers with hacking into American companies for competitive advantage, the first cyber-espionage case of its kind. US prosecutors said the officers stole trade secrets and internal documents from five companies and a labour union. Attorney General Eric Holder identified the alleged victims as Westinghouse Electric, US Steel, Alcoa Inc, Allegheny Technologies, SolarWorld and the US Steelworkers Union. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said the allegations were "made up" and would "damage Sino-American co-operation and mutual trust". The US justice department indicted 5 officers in Unit 61398 of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, said to be the top hacking team of China, as conspirators. FBI officials said the hacking in the years 2006 to 2014 caused "significant losses" at the companies. BBC analysts noted it's no coincidence that four of the six groups named are in the metal industry which had trade laws in place. The indictments are seen as largely symbolic.

Read the full story on BBC.




Sextortion

4. Global hacker crackdown nabs suspects in 19 countries



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An international crackdown by the FBI and police in 19 countries brought about more than 90 arrests of alleged cyber criminals. The two-year operation was coordinated so suspects didn't have time to destroy evidence. It included the arrest of a Swedish hacker who was a co-creator of malware called Blackshades. Called “creepware,” it can be used to hijack computers remotely and turn on webcams, access hard drives and capture keystrokes to steal passwords. The malware sells for as little as $40 and has become one of the world's most popular remote administration tools, or RAT. Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf was one of the well-publicized victims. Wolf received an e-mail message that included nude photos of her obviously taken in her bedroom from her laptop. The e-mail sender demanded better-quality photos and video, and a sex show via Skype. The hacker turned out to be a former classmate who installed Blackshade on her laptop and had been watching her from her laptop camera for a year.

Read the full story on CNN.




Corruption Scandal

5. Aquino: Napoles not fit to be state witness



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President Benigno Aquino said the woman in the center of the latest corruption scandal, Janet Napoles, is not fit to become a state witness. Aquino said Napoles does not meet one requirement to be a state witness: that she must not be the most guilty in the scam, where lawmakers diverted public funds to her fake NGOs. The President noted, “She is the common connection of all. How are we going to say she is 'not the most guilty' if she is at the center of it all?” The justice department is still vetting Napoles’ statements after she volunteered information and offered a list of names of people who allegedly benefitted from the scam. There are at least 3 lists circulating, all supposedly from her, but they don’t match. Aquino said some people may be intentionally muddling the issue and changing names in the lists to “bring the whole house down" and make it appear that everyone is guilty.

Read the full story on Rappler.




Human Rights

6. PH senator denounces death of political prisoner’s baby in prison



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Senator Pia Cayetano joined women and human rights groups in questioning the treatment of political prisoner Andrea Rosal, whose baby died supposedly because government denied her access to immediate medical care. Cayetano compared the condition of Rosal with the treatment of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, who has been in the hospital for nearly two months. The chairperson of the Senate committee on women lamented what she called the “deplorable condition” of ordinary inmates like Rosal compared to Napoles and other high-profile prisoners.

Read the full story on Rappler.




Ferry Tragedy

7. South Korea President: responsibility 'lies with me'



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South Korean President Park Geun-Hye took full responsibility for the mishandling of last month's Sewol ferry disaster. On April 16, the Sewol ferry sank off the southern coast with 476 people on board. At least 286 people died, most were high school students. In tears, Park said “The ultimate responsibility for the poor response to this accident lies with me.” She also dismantled the coast guard, criticizing its failure to immediately respond to the tragedy. The coastguard’s responsibilities will be split between the police and a newly created ministry of national safety. The Sewol's captain and three crew members face charges for abandoning the ship and its passengers.

Read the full story on Rappler.




Weather

8. May 2014 is a scorching month for PH



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Get ready for the heat. Temperatures in May are expected to go past 37 degrees Celsius, a marked rise from the summer season temperatures observed since April which hovered between 35 degrees Celsius and 37 degrees Celsius in different parts of the country. Department of energy secretary Jericho Petilla said the spike in temperatures is expected to drive demand for power, including the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia to be held in Metro Manila from May 21 to 23. The forum comes at a time when the energy supply for Luzon is below normal. The overall energy outlook puts the region on yellow alert for the week, a status that means reserves are below the minimum level but does not necessarily mean power outages or blackouts will happen.

Read the full story on Rappler.




Forensics

9. DNA tests show hair analysis isn’t fool-proof



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Microscopic hair analysis was long accepted as a virtually unerring technique to prove that a suspect was at the scene of the crime. But with the advent of DNA analysis, apparent matches of hair samples ultimately proved to be not as flawless as experts thought, leading to cases of wrongful imprisonment. The New York Times focused on the case of Kirk Odom, a man found guilty of rape in 1981 and spent two decades behind bars. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s crime lab had claimed that hairs taken from his head microscopically matched the one found on the victim’s nightgown. DNA testing later established that Odom was not the rapist, as he had asserted all along, after he had completed his prison sentence.

Read the full story on The New York Times.

DNA testing image via Shutterstock




Billboard Music Awards

10. Michael Jackson’s hologram gets mixed reactions



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Michael Jackson stole the show in the Billboard Music Awards.

"Uncomfortable, odd and eerily interesting." That was how public relations agent Simone Smalls summed it up in a tweet, after watching the star’s hologram perform onstage. "Not quite sure what to feel. #MissingMJ" Jackson died nearly five years ago while preparing for a comeback tour. Ludacris, the rapper-actor who hosted the show, actually introduced it as "Live from the MGM Grand, Michael Jackson." NBA team owner Mark Cuban tweeted about Jackson's "hologram" saying, "He's baaaccck!" The dance moves were not really Jackson's but apparently those of a stand-in performer who recreated his steps for a computer that then laid on an image that replicated Jackson.

Was the illusion effective? Read the full story on CNN.