The wRap


Your World in 10 - November 9, 2012 Edition

Investigation

1. PH ambassador accused of rape



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Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Shulan Primavera will be investigated after being accused of sexual harassment by a Filipina maid, the Department of Foreign Affairs said. Reports showed that the maid had been working for over 8 months at Primavera's residence in the emirate when, she said, he attempted to engage in sexual relations with her and tried to take off her bra. The 63-year-old Primavera has told media it's all a lie and that the woman was being used by one of his enemies to destroy his image. The department will investigate the matter in Manila, according to spokesman Raul Hernandez.

Read the full story on Rappler




Security

2. U.S. throws sanctions, accusations vs Iran



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Washington unveiled sanctions against top Iranians and national bodies, including the communications minister and the culture ministry, hitting back for media and Internet censorship. The move against Communications Minister Reza Taghipour came after he was blamed for ordering the jamming of international satellite TV broadcasts and restricting Internet access. The United States was determined to stop the "Iranian government from creating an 'electronic curtain' to cut Iranian citizens off from the rest of the world," said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. The New York Times also reported that the Pentagon is accusing Iran of firing at an American drone over the Persian Gulf on November 1. The drone was not hit by the Iranian warplanes, but Washington is still protesting the move, the newspaper said.

Read the full story on sanctions against Iran on Rappler

Read the full story on the drones at the New York Times




Global police

3. Interpol gets 1st female president



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Interpol has elected a French police commissioner known for her drive against organized crime in Bordeaux and Corsica as its first female president at its general assembly in Rome. The 58-year-old Mireille Balestrazzi becomes the "first woman to be elected president of Interpol," the world's top association of crime-fighters said on Twitter. Balestrazzi became a police commissioner in France in 1975 and was already vice-president for Europe on Interpol's executive committee. She is particularly well known for her time as director of judicial police in Corsica in the 1990s at a time of fierce turf wars on the island.

Read the full story on Rappler





New Cabinet

4. Clinton, Panetta out?



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US President Barack Obama got back to work, with an important item on his to-do list -- stocking his new Cabinet. Obama is expected to lose heavyweights including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, for most if not all of his second 4-year term. Clinton has reiterated that she wants to reclaim a private life put on hold by decades in the spotlight. The President will also likely have to make changes to his White House staff with some senior aides expected to move on and others shifting to different jobs in the administration. UN ambassador Susan Rice, who has been close to Obama for years, has long been seen as a likely replacement for Clinton at the State Department.

Read the full story on Rappler





Post-US elections

5. Israel braces for Obama 'payback'



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Israel braced for chillier ties with Washington, with pundits unanimous that a re-elected President Barack Obama will seek payback for Benjamin Netanyahu's supporting Mitt Romney. "Netanyahu gambled, we will pay," said a headline in top-selling daily Yediot Aharonot, referring to the Israeli prime minister's ill-concealed backing for Obama's Republican challenger in this year's election. Tensions between the two leaders surfaced during Obama's first term. Their public meetings were characterized by a clear lack of chemistry, and differences over such key issues as the peace process and how to handle the Iranian nuclear threat sometimes spilled over into high-profile public dispute. But it was Netanyahu's backing for Romney that appeared to rattle the Obama administration most and was likely to see the president seeking to "settle scores" with the Israeli premier, the Maariv newspaper said.

Read the full story on Rappler




Syrian conflict

6. Assad vows to 'live and die in Syria'



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It all started with British Prime Minister David Cameron's remarks in an interview with Al-Arabiya TV, where he said he was willing to give Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "safe passage" if that's what it takes to stop the bloodshed in the country. Assad responded with a tough stand and warned about the grave consequences of foreign intervention. "I'm not a puppet, and I was not made by the West to go to the West or to any other country," he told Russia Today TV. "I am Syrian. I was made in Syria and to live and die in Syria." International aid agencies say that resources and stamina are running out in Syria. Even Tunisia has offered asylum to al-Assad in an attempt to prevent further violence. But Assad warned of a "domino effect" if other countries intervened in the conflict.

Read the full story on CNN





Consumers

7. New Mastercard has LCD screen, keyboard



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It has touch-sensitive buttons and the ability to create a "one-time password," the BBC said. Mastercard has launched in Singapore a credit card with an LCD display and built-in keyboard; it will be available in the city-state from January before a global roll-out. The new interactive card addresses banking rules that require customers to log in to online banking through a small security device, the BBC said. Said V Subba from Standard Chartered Bank, which is collaborating with Mastercard."The question was: instead of sending customers another bulky token, could we replace something which already exists in the customer's wallet? That was when credit, debit and ATM cards immediately came to mind."

Read the full story on BBC






Environment

8. Teenager makes a stand for Dolphins



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Christel Erin Lejano, 13 years old and a second-year high school student of St. Scholastica's College, is gaining the attention of social media users after her sister Camille "Bebs" Lejano praised her via a Facebook status update for having "the balls" to fight for her beliefs. An advocate against water parks that hold dolphins captive, Christel sent a letter of appeal to school authorities to reconsider a planned field trip to an open-water marine park in Subic, Philippines. Christel was inspired by the "The Cove," a documentary that exposed the mass slaughtering of dolphins in Japan. After watching it, Christel said she no longer sees herself as a little girl but as a young lady who wants to spread the truth.

Read the full story on Rappler





Technology

9. PH gets Google Free Zone



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When it comes to the launch of tech-related products the Philippines isn't usually the place where you'd get it first. But that's just changed with the introduction of a service called Free Zone from Google. The Internet giant announced November 8 that it was testing out a new service that allows users to access Gmail, Google+ and Google search for free on their mobile phones. Google Free Zone does not require that you have a data plan and will work on most Internet enabled mobile phones. And the Philippines is the only country in the world that has the service as of the moment.

Read the full story on Rappler





Art

10. Despite Sandy, Monet sold for $43.7-M



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Superstorm Sandy notwithstanding, New York hosted major auctions in the past two weeks that saw impressive sales. Claude Monet's famous water lily paintings sold for US$43.7 and a painting by Wassily Kandinsky for $23-M, a record for the Russian artist, the BBC reported. Quoting Reuters, BBC said that 30% of the 69 paintings up for auction failed to find buyers. Still, it's been an impressive sale. The works of Picasso ($13M) and Miro ($13.7-M) were also sold. BBC said some experts have warned that the disparity between art values and the broader economic situation cannot continue. But not for now. Sotheby's just opened its auction in New York, which was delayed by 3 days due to Sandy.

Read the full story on BBC