The wRap


Your World in 10 - December 21, 2012 Edition

Economy

1. PH growth to hit 6.5% in Q4 - experts



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A think tank said the Philippine economy will perform even better in the coming months -- despite the devastation caused by Typhoon "Pablo" -- due to the coming elections and more infrastructure projects. In its latest Market Call report released Thursday, December 20, First Metro Investment Corp.'s and University of Asia and the Pacific's Capital Markets Research Center said the Philippine economy will still be able to post a 6.5% growth in the fourth quarter of 2012. For the rest of 2012, the think tank said GDP growth is likely to settle at slightly below 7%. This will be boosted by low inflation rate, which the government expects to average 3.2% this year.


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Politics

2. Garcia defies DILG, files for TRO



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Cebu Gov Gwendolyn “Gwen” Garcia is holed up at the provincial capitol for the third day after challenging her suspension before the Court of Appeals. Garcia said she is waiting for the court to grant her petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO) on her suspension. Without the TRO, the governor has vowed to leave the post “over my dead body.” She spent her second night in the capitol Thursday, December 20. Garcia is fighting Malacañang’s order to suspend her for 6 months, effectively cutting short the rest of her term ahead of the May 2013 polls. Now on her last term as governor, she is running for representative of the province's 3rd district.


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#PHVote

3. Poll substitution frenzy



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It's an old trick that Philippine politicians use every election season. As they approached the December 21 deadline for substitution, at least 50 politicians have called up the top election official, Sixto Brillantes, to inform him of their plans to withdraw from the race to give way to other candidates, according to Brillantes himself. Sen. Edgardo Angara himself backed out of a gubernatorial bid to give way to his younger brother Arthur. A former presidential bet, Eddie Villanueva, also filed his senatorial bid after a partymate withdrew from the race. In Pangasinan, socialite Rosemarie "Baby" Arenas filed her congressional bid after her daughter Rachelle withdrew her certificate of candidacy. The elections will be held in May 2013.


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Health

4. RH law benefits in 5 years



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Don't expect immediate results from the newly-signed Reproductive Health law. Albay Rep Edcel Lagman, principal author of the bill, said much work needs to be done to implement a law that seeks government funding for reproductive health services - including free contraceptives. He is proposing a "mandatory comprehensive review" 5 years after, because "that's the only time that we will see the [benefits] of the law." Authors of the bill admitted that the law is not perfect, but that it's a big step towards making the RH services available.


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Foreign affairs

5. ASEAN wants India's help in disputes with China



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Southeast Asian countries on December 20 urged India to intervene to help resolve bitter territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea, saying it was "crucial" to maintaining peace and stability. Vietnamese Premier Nguyen Tan Dung asked for New Delhi's direct intervention over South China Sea territorial disputes while Myanmar President Thein Sein said India's role was "crucial" to ensuring peace and stability in the region. But India's foreign minister insisted the issue did not require his country's intervention. "Doing something about it includes not doing something about it" Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said.


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China

6. Cops arrest hundreds for 'apocalypse rumors'



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Don't mess with China. At least 600 members of a Christian group in China have been arrested for spreading rumors of an impending apocalypse, CNN reported. The arrests were made in Beijing, as well as in the provinces Qinghai, Sichuan, Guangdong, and Guizhou. Based on the Mayan doomsday scenario, the world is supposed to end on December 21 -- when the sun would not shine and electricity would not work for 3 days. Chinese cops said they will detain the cult members for at most 10 days for disturbing social order, CNN added. Confiscated from the members were banners, books, and computer discs.


Read the full story on CNN






Internet

7. Wikileaks to release documents on 'every country'



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WikiLeaks will release one million documents in 2013 affecting every country in the world, founder Julian Assange said in a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Thursday, December 20. Assange said to cheers from around 100 supporters that despite spending half of 2012 holed up in the building it had been a "huge year" in which his anti-secrecy website had released documents about Syria and other topics. "Next year will be equally busy. WikiLeaks has already over one million documents being prepared to be released, documents that affect every country in the world -- every country in this world," he said to applause. The Australian former computer hacker thanked Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa for granting him asylum and hit the United States and other Western governments.


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Catholic Church

8. Pope Paul VI's 1st step to sainthood



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Pope Benedict XVI signed a decree on recognizing the "heroic virtues" of the late pope Paul VI, putting him on the first step towards beatification and eventual sainthood. Italian-born Giovanni Battista Montini, who was elected pope in 1963 and reigned until 1978, oversaw a complex series of reforms in the Roman Catholic Church following the Vatican II Council. Vatican investigators will now try to identify a miracle that can be attributed to Paul VI in order for him to be beatified. A second confirmed miracle is required for canonization.


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Social media

9. Facebook: Pay to send message



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Facebook began testing in the U.S. the feasibility of charging to guarantee that messages from strangers make it into inboxes of intended recipients at the social network. The Facebook Messages test lets a sender pay a dollar to make sure an electronic missive is routed to someone's "inbox" even when the person isn't in their circle of friends. Facebook said that it wanted to determine whether adding a "financial signal" improves its formula for delivering "relevant and useful" messages to members' inboxes. Facebook already uses social cues, such as connections between friends, and algorithms that identify spam messages.


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Culture

10. Louvre is most visited museum



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The Louvre said its new Islamic art wing helped cement its position as the world's most-visited museum with nearly 10 million visitors in 2012, over a million more than last year. The museum's new wing of Islamic art, with about 3,000 precious works from the seventh to the 19th centuries, opened to the public in September and since then has attracted 650,000 visitors. Its website had seen more than 11 million visitors and that its Facebook page had 800,000 followers.
The Paris-based museum said there was a "remarkable progression in Chinese visitors, who now figure in the top three groups (of non-French visitors) alongside Americans and Brazilians." Next came Italians and Germans.


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