The wRap


Your World in 10 - November 19, 2012 Edition

Asia

1. Obama pushes for more reform in Myanmar



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During his Asian tour, US President Barack Obama praised Myanmar’s reforms but urged the regime under President Thein Sein to do more. In a press conference in Thailand on Sunday, Obama said that while the Myanmar president is taking steps in a better direction, “The country has a long way to go.” On Monday, November 19, Obama becomes the first sitting American president to visit Myanmar which had been isolated because of its repressive military junta rule. His speech at Yangon University will be symbolic as it was the place where students repeatedly tried to stoke a revolution. Obama will also travel to Cambodia where he will meet with Prime Minister Hun Sen before the start of the East Asia Summit.

Read the full story on Rappler




ASEAN

2. Unified ASEAN presses for talks with China on sea disputes



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Taking a united position, ASEAN leaders on Sunday, November 18, urged China to sit down for top-level talks to settle territorial disputes in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea). ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan that “the ASEAN side is ready and waiting for our Chinese friends to come forward.” At the soonest possible time, they want “more formal and official” talks on a legally binding code of conduct that could ease tensions. China, according to its foreign ministry spokesman, wants to continue with lower-level negotiations agreed on in 2002. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan claim parts of the sea, while China insists it has rights to virtually all of the sea.

Read the full story on Rappler.




Middle east

3. Deaths in Gaza rise from Israel attacks



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Over 30 Palestinians were killed by Israeli air strikes Sunday, November 18, on the Gaza Strip. It was the bloodiest day so far, even as efforts to agree to a ceasefire intensified. Also on Sunday, about 125 rockets hit Israel, while scores more were intercepted in midflight by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. Egypt has been trying to help negotiate a ceasefire, with senior Hamas officials saying in Cairo that the talks to put a stop to the bloodshed were “positive.” Hamas wants the US, Israel’s main supporter, to act as “guaranteeing party.” US President Barack Obama said Washington was “fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself.” Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi however said any Israeli ground invasion would have “serious repercussions.” The BBC quoted Mursi as saying Egypt would never accept it “and neither will the free world.”

Read the full story on Rappler.

More details are on BBCNews.




Fraud

4. NGO accused of faking documents on Saturdays



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Employees of the Visayan Forum (VF), an anti-trafficking organization, allegedly devoted Saturdays to producing fake receipts that justified up to P210 million in supposedly misused donations from the United States Agency for International Development. Former VF employees who had turned witnesses for the National Bureau of Investigation said they fabricated receipts to comply with auditor requirements. The witnesses said VF employees used scotch tape and other materials to tamper with the receipts and “fill in the gaps” in funds that were unaccounted for or still unliquidated. VF lawyer Laurence Arroyo however pointed to the VF bookkeeper and said she faked the receipts to cover up her own failure to liquidate expenses. The NBI however countered the falsification of about 35,000 documents required a team effort and could not have been done by one person alone. USAID has filed fraud charges against VF, hailed for being at the forefront of the campaign against human trafficking.

Read the full story on Rappler.




Sports

5. Viloria wins vs Marquez



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Brian Viloria bagged the biggest win of his career when he stopped Mexican challenger Hernan “Tyson” Marquez in the 10th round of their match on Saturday, November 17. Viloria won the WBO and WBA Flyweight titles after Marquez’s chief trainer Robert Garcia threw in the towel in Round 10. This came after Round 5 where intense action almost turned the tide against Viloria who had been outboxing and outworking Marquez. Taking a left hook on his temple, Viloria looked wobbly until he unleashed punches that downed Marquez. It was not until Round 10 that Viloria threw a huge right hand that sent his opponent against the canvas. The flurry of punches that followed wrapped up Viloria’s victory.

Read the full story on Rappler.




Social media for social change

6. Rappler goes to Cebu for cybercrime forum



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Rappler brings its Move Chat Series to Cebu for a discussion on the cybercrime law and the more encompassing use of social media for social change. Done in partnership with the University of San Jose Recoletos (USJR) College of Arts and Sciences, the forum on Wednesday, November 21, will bring together journalists, communication students, bloggers, youth representatives, academe, media and other individuals interested in social media and the online world. Cebu-based Ruben Licera, president of the Cebu Bloggers Association, will provide inputs on the cybercrime law and how it affects social media. Journalists from Rappler led by CEO and executive editor Maria Ressa will focus on how social media can be used for social change. The 9th of the chat series will be held from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm at the USJR auditorium.

Read the full story on Rappler.




World

7. Hindu nationalist Thackeray cremated



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Hindu fundamentalist Bal Thackeray died Saturday, November 17, his body cremated after a huge funeral on Sunday. The 86-year-old politician founded the right-wing Shiv Sena party and was blamed for tensions between Hindus and Muslims. One of the most divisive figures in Indian politics, he founded the Shiv Sena in 1966 to stop the spread of Islam. He also called on Hindus to form suicide squads to attack Muslims. The Mumbai riots in 1992 and 1993 were blamed on Shiv Sena members and leaders who played a major role in organizing the attacks against Muslims. Thackeray was not convicted of any offense.

Read the full story on BBCNews.

A related story is also on BBCNews.




Cocoa power

8. Intelligence linked to chocolate?



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An “incredibly close relationship” exists between chocolate consumption and the number of Nobel prize laureates per capita. This was among the findings of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine which compared the number of Nobel Prize winners in a country as a measure of national intelligence, and that nation’s chocolate consumption. Franz Messerli of Colombia University said that “there is less than one-in-10,000 probability” that the correlation between the two is only by chance. Switzerland, it turns out, had the highest choco consumption per head and the highest number of Nobel Prize winners per capita. Sweden however did not follow the trend as the Swedes ate much less chocolate but still produced a high number of Nobel laureates.

Read the full story on BBCNews.




Technology

9. Google’s android eating Apple’s turf



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In the last quarter, the android operating system powered almost 3 of 4 smartphones shipped worldwide, threatening Apple’s hold on the mobile gadget market. Since its launch in 2008, the android software has been one of the primary growth engines of the smartphone market, industry trackers said. Shipments of Android smartphones rose to 136 million, higher by a little over 90% compared to the second quarter of 2011. While Android benefits from an “open-source” platform, Apple tightly controls its products from software to hardware. Apple’s iPhone 4S was overtaken by Samsung’s Galaxy S3 in the 3rd quarter of the year, giving Samsung the world’s best-selling smartphone model for the first time ever, research firm Strategy Analytics said. According to analysts, the Android has successfully tapped into the appetite for innovation and low prices.

Read the fully story on Rappler.




Health

10. Resistance to antibiotics threatens health



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“The more you use an antibiotic, the more bacteria become resistant to it.” This was what England’s chief medical officer, Prof Dame Sally Davies, said, urging patients and prescribers alike to think about the drugs they are requesting and prescribing. Antibiotics are losing their effectiveness “at a rate that is both alarming and irreversible,” she warned. Bacteria are adapting and finding ways to survive the effects of antibiotics, the BBC quoted Davies as saying. Ultimately bacteria become resistant so antibiotics no longer work – posing one of the greatest threats to health. Antibiotics, according to Davies, should not be used unnecessarily to treat mild infections because this only serves to create resistance.

Read the full story on BBCNews.