The wRap


Your World in 10 - December 17, 2012 Edition

Reproductive Health

1. Senate, House pass RH bill



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The Senate and the House of Representatives passed on third and final reading the Reproductive Health bill on Monday, December 17. In a historic move, both houses voted on the measure certified urgent by President Benigno Aquino III. The House voted 133 for the RH bill, while 79 voted against it. Seven members of the House chose to abstain. In the Senate, 13 senators voted for the bill, 8 against. All it needed was 11 votes to pass the bill. Monday’s vote is the conclusion of a heated and emotional debate which drew a sharp line between supporters and critics of a highly divisive measure in Congress. It took 14 long years before the bill finally made it through the legislative grinder, thereby facilitating access to natural and modern family planning methods. The two versions will be reconciled in a bicameral conference committee expected to meet later this week, if not Tuesday, December 18.

Read the full story on Rappler.




US Newtown School Violence

2. 28 killed in US school shooting



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28 people that included the gunman himself were killed in a horrific massacre that shocked the town of Newtown in Connecticut on Friday morning, December 15. 20-year-old Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster .233 rifle – also used in military assaults – to kill 20 children studying at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Police officials said 6 adults, including the school principal, were also killed. The gunman also shot and killed his own mother before breaking into the school. After his shooting spree, Lanza killed himself apparently in a suicide. The children were shot at between 3 and 11 times, investigators said. 16 of them were 6-year-olds and four were 7-year-olds; 12 of them were girls and 8 were boys. By Saturday, bodies had been cleared from the two rooms where Lanza concentrated his shooting. President Barack Obama, aghast over the tragedy, struggled to maintain his composure as he spoke on Saturday about the tragedy and called for solidarity to prevent similar occurrences in the future. He met with victims’ families and emergency service workers in Newtown on Sunday, US time. Obama said, "These tragedies must end, and to end them we must change." The incident has also reignited calls for stricter gun control.

Read the full story on Rappler.

A related story is also on Rappler.

A story about Obama’s visit is on BBC News.




Sports

3. Donaire wins by TKO



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After a painful loss by boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao, Filipino boxing fans were treated to a 3rd round knockout by Filipino star Nonito Donaire on Sunday, December 16. Donaire successfully defended his World Boxing Organization super bantamweight crown against Mexican boxer Jorge Arce. It was his 30th victory in a row. The Filipino boxer unleashed a powerful left hook that caused Arce to drop to the canvas for the second time in Round 3. He had dominated the fight the entire time, and had knocked down Arce in the previous round. “My speed is there. My power is there so he needs to keep a distance,” Donaire warned before the start of the fight. Arce announced his retirement after the fight, saying he would take care of his family.

Read the full story on Rappler.




Poverty Reduction

4. 1 in 10 CCT beneficiaries ‘not really poor’ – COA



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Close to 10% of beneficiaries of government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program are “not really poor” and are not qualified for assistance. A Commission on Audit report said that a random survey among CCT beneficiaries in 4 regions looked into the actual existence of beneficiaries, their eligibility, the correctness of grants they received, and their compliance with program conditionalities. COA special teams found that 9.52% or about 1 in 10 households sampled should have been disqualified. They found that some of the beneficiaries in Baguio City, Abra, Apayao, Batangas and Iloilo had concrete houses and had a household member with a regular job and steady income. Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman said the department is in the process of addressing problems and is already reviewing and revalidating families that the audit team has found to be unqualified. As of November 2012, over 3 million households have been registered as CCT beneficiaries.

Read the full story on Rappler.




Japanese Elections

5. Japan PM loses to LDP’s Shinzo Abe



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Japan’s conservative opposition swept the polls on Sunday, December 16, resulting in the defeat of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). Noda, whose party broke the almost half a century rule of the conservative LDP, remained in power for only 3 years. Noda resigned as head of the DPJ. Abe, who had previously served as prime minister between 2006 and 2007, meanwhile pledged to take a tough position in territorial disputes against China. He said the 8 disputed islands known as Senkaku islands are Japan’s “inherent territory” and that the LDP sought to “stop the challenge” from China. He also promised to “pull Japan out of deflation and correct a strong yen. The situation is severe but we need to do this.”

Read the full story on Rappler.

Abe’s declarations about China are on BBC News.

A related story is on CNN.




Disaster

6. Over 1,000 killed by Typhoon Pablo



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Over a thousand people have died, while hundreds still remain missing in the aftermath of Typhoon Pablo’s destruction, Benito Ramos, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) chief said on Sunday, December 16. Those missing number 844, about half of them fishermen who set out to sea before Pablo hit. The worst natural disaster to hit the country in 2012, Pablo is feared to exceed the over 1,200 confirmed dead after Typhoon Sendong (Washi) hit Mindanao in December 2011. The NDRRMC had estimated damage to crops and public infrastructure at P7.16 billion, with large tracts of coconut and banana trees flattened. “They did not expect this intensity. The last time (this part of the country) got hit by a strong storm was 1912,” Ramos said.

Read the full story on Rappler.




Economy

7. More Filipinos optimistic about economy



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An increasing number of Filipinos is regaining their confidence in the Philippine economy. According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the country’s overall Consumer Confidence Index in the last quarter of 2012 showed an increase from -13.3% in the 3rdquarter to -10.4% in the 4th quarter. This positive outlook is driven mainly by low-income Filipinos who cited the following as reasons for their optimism: more jobs as a result of more working family members, additional income and higher salary, increasing investment inflows, infrastructure improvments, and better governance.

Read the full story on Rappler.




Nurse in UK Royal Hoax

8. Body arrives in India for burial



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The body of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who apparently killed herself after a hoax phone call involving the Duchess of Cambridge, arrived in India for burial. The BBC reported that her remains were escorted from the United Kingdom by her husband and two children. She was found dead on December 7 near the hospital in London where the duchess was hospitalized over morning sickness. She left 3 suicide notes. Prior to the suicide, she took a hoax call from two Australian radio station DJs who pretended to be British royals inquiring about her case. Senior managers of the hospital tried to reassure Saldanha she was not being blamed for putting through the call. She will be buried in her hometown of Mangalore in Karnataka state.

Read the full story on BBC News.




Christmas Season

9. Simbanggabi begins: CBCP warns against contraception



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Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) vice president Socrates Villegas, in a pastoral letter read during the first day of the 9-series Simbanggabi or dawn masses, said “Contraception corrupts the soul.” The RH bill, if enacted into law, will facilitate access by the poor to contraceptives and mandate sex education in schools. President Benigno Aquino III had certified the bill urgent. Villegas’ pastoral letter said Filipino Catholics should pray that legislators and other statesmen will heed the “true interests of the Filipino people.” This means “upholding life, saying no to contraception, which is corruption, and being faithful to the Christ Child, who was pro-woman, pro-child and pro-poor.”

Read the full story on Rappler.

A related story on the CBCP’s declaration about the RH bill being a step toward legalizing abortion is also on Rappler.




Health

10. People living ‘longer but sicker’



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Worldwide, people are living longer but with higher levels of sickness, the BBC reported, citing results of a study of the global burden of disease. Malnourishment which was a top disease in 1990 was replaced by high blood pressure, smoking and drinking alcohol as among the leading causes of sickness. Heart disease, according to the 5-year project study, caused one in four deaths worldwide in 2010. Research leader Prof Christopher Murray from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington said, “There’s been a progressive shift from early death to chronic disability. What ails you isn’t necessarily what kills you.”

Read the full story on BBC News.