The wRap


Your World in 10 - April 1, 2013 Edition

New High

1. Credit upgrade pushes PSEi near 7,000



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Investors flocked to the stock market on the first trading day after international credit rating agency Fitch upgraded the Philippines to investment grade status. A few minutes after the market opened on Monday, April 1, the Philippine Stock Exchange main index (PSEi) breached the 6,900 mark, a record first, and inched toward 7,000. PSEi has reached new intraday record high of 6,955.32 at 10:45am. It retreated to 6,919.98 by mid-day, up 72.51 or 1.06%. Fitch announced the upgrade Wednesday, March 27.

Read more on Rappler




Making the Grade

2. Purisima: PH is actually 2 notches above investment grade



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Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima says the Philippines is “the most underrated country in the world,” adding the recent credit upgrade from Fitch still does not reflect how foreign investors view the country as an investment destination. On March 27, global credit rating firm Fitch upgrades the Philippines’ credit rating to BBB-. But Purisima says other credit rating agencies already rated the Philippines investment grade years ago. He says, "The market rates [that reflect pricing on the Philippine credit risk] are already two notches above investment grade. We’re probably the most underrated country in the world.” Purisima says the big 3 international credit rating agencies -- Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor's, and Moody's Investor Service -- lag behind the foreign investors' credit risk assessment of the country. Tune in to www.rappler.com on April 4 for the full interview.

Read more on Rappler




Uncertainty in the Koreas

3. War in the Koreas or the boy who cried wolf?



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North Korea announces a "state of war" with South Korea and says it will strengthen its nuclear power capability.
In a meeting of central committee members on Sunday, the North says it would never trade its atomic weapons for international aid.
Tensions between the North and South heighten after Saturday’s announcement.
In response, South Korea says it will retaliate to any provocation by the North.
In a meeting with military officials, South Korean President Park Geun-Hye says she is taking the North’s threats “very seriously.”
On Monday, the United States sends F22 stealth fighters over South Korea as “deterrence” after last week's B2 bombers drop dummy ordnance.
Seoul and Washington warn of severe repercussions if the North carries out its threats of nuclear strikes against the two countries.

Read more on Rappler here, here and here




In the News

4. Pope Francis prays for the Koreas and Syria



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Pope Francis prayed for peace in the Korean peninsula in his first Urbi et Orbi (To the City of Rome and to the World) message on Easter Sunday.
Delivering his speech to some 250,000 people from Vatican City, the Pope said, "Peace in Asia, above all on the Korean peninsula: may disagreements be overcome and a renewed spirit of reconciliation grow."
On Saturday, North Korea declared war against South Korea, increasing military tensions on the peninsula. The Pope also prayed for peace in Syria, Israel and Palestine, Iraq, Mali, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic. He also prayed for victims of human trafficking, drug trafficking, and natural and man-made disasters.
The first Latin American pope, who has stressed love for the poor and the whole of creation, added: "Take back to your homes, families, and countries the message of joy and hope that every year, our Lord, who is victorious over death and sin, brings to all of us. And take this message to the weakest, especially."

Read more on Rappler and Google





New President

5. Kenyatta, on trial for crimes against humanity, is Kenya's new president



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Kenya's Supreme Court upheld Uhuru Kenyatta's presidential election victory, ruling the March 4 polls were fair and credible.
The ruling paved the way for Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's first president and one of Africa's richest men, to be sworn in as head of state on April 9. Six judges dismissed petitions filed by outgoing prime minister Raila Odinga, Kenyatta's main rival in the presidential race. Odinga and some civil society groups had called for new elections, claiming there was a series of irregularities that skewed the election results. Official results showed Kenyatta won 50.07 percent of the votes -- just making it over the 50-percent threshold. He was declared the winner on March 9. But Kenyatta still faces charges of crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court. He is accused of helping incite violence after the Kenya’s last elections in 2007.

Read more on Rappler




Battle for Manila

6. Erap vs Lim: Manila has decayed



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Former President Joseph Estrada and Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno fired the opening salvo in the campaign battle for Manila on Easter Sunday.
In a 7-hour proclamation rally at the Liwasang Bonifacio, the two used rhetoric and humor to outline their programs for Manila, and to blast the leadership of Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim.
Estrada and Moreno blame Lim, who was mayor of Manila for 12 years, for the "decay" of Manila, once a world-renowned capital.
The two say they will "bring back the glory and honor of Manila as the capital of the Philippines.”
Manila is one of the most watched local races, with the heated rivalry between former allies Estrada and Lim.
The city has 6 districts and over 950,000 registered voters.
Lim and his slate will hold their own proclamation rally on Monday with President Benigno Aquino as main guest.

Read more on Rappler




Peace Pact

7. Hard work for Bangsamoro law starts in April



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The drafting of a legislative measure for the Bangsamoro peace plan will begin in April. The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process says the Transition Commission will begin drafting the Bangsamoro basic law right after it holds its first en banc session on April 3. The law replaces the act that created the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. It will also guide the Bangsamoro Transition Authority.
In February, President Benigno Aquino named the members of the commission -- 7 from the government, and 8 recommended by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. OPAPP says once the basic law is ratified, ARMM will be abolished and the new Bangsamoro region will be established. The basic law is targeted to be completed within the 16th Congress.

Read more on Rappler




Character

8. Private lives of candidates for office



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A lawmaker resigning because of improper relations with a young girl on Twitter. A president impeached because of what he did with a White House intern. These are only some of the instances when private acts of public officials had grave impact on both their personal and professional lives. How does this translate to the Philippines, where our machismo culture actually rewarded former President Joseph Estrada? Rappler’s Natashya Gutierrez takes a look at what goes on behind the scenes on the campaign trail and asks are private lives of candidates public fodder?

Read more on Rappler




April Fool's

9. YouTube, Twitter & Google on April Fool's Jokes



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Be careful on April 1. It’s April Fools’ Day, and YouTube, Twitter and Google launch several pranks to add to the dozens of sites joining the fun. On Sunday, the world's most popular video-sharing site announces it's shutting down. It also says YouTube was an eight-year contest to find the best video. In a 3-minute video posted on its homepage, YouTube representatives say it would close down to review all the video submissions uploaded on the site and announce the best one in 2023. Its parent company Google also pulls an early prank, with Google Analytics telling website administrators they are getting traffic from the International Space Station. Popular microblogging site Twitter -- known for its 140-character limit -- announces it's removing the use of vowels in the basic Twitter service. Calling the "new" service Twttr, the company says vowels can be purchased and used in its "premium" Twitter service for five dollars a month.

Read more on Rappler, Twitter and College Spun






Ouch

10. Kevin Ware snaps leg in 2 places



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Louisville guard Kevin Ware suffers a gruesome leg injury during their match against Duke on March 31. With the Cardinals up by four with 6:40 left in the opening half, Ware challenges Blue Devil Tyler Thornton's three-point attempt. But Ware lands hard on the court, grimacing in pain as part of his bone protruded from his skin. Louisville coach Rick Pitino later confirmed with SB Nation that Ware's leg is broken in two parts, with the bone sticking 6 inches out of the skin. The injury leaves Ware out of the games for at least a year. The Cardinals rally around their teammate and dismantle Duke, 85-63, to advance to the Final Four against Wichita State next week.

Read more on Rappler