The wRap


Your World in 10 - December 27, 2012 Edition

Proof of Life

1. Kidnapped Australian on Facebook, YouTube



Happy


Sad


Angry


Don't Care


Inspired


Afraid


Amused


Annoyed



More than a year after he was kidnapped from his home in the southern Philippines, Australian Warren Rodwell appears on a recorded video uploaded to YouTube and shared on Facebook on December 25, 2012. It's his third proof-of-life video. He is visibly thinner, with hollowed-out cheeks and a cropped haircut. Intelligence sources tell Rappler they have been monitoring the YouTube account, which claims to be "the official channel of Al-Harakatul Islamia" - the formal name of the Abu Sayyaf. Western and Filipino intelligence sources say Rodwell is being held by the Abu Sayyaf on the island of Basilan and that negotiations have hit many snags.

Read more on Rappler



Fiscal Cliff

2. US Treasury takes emergency measures



Happy


Sad


Angry


Don't Care


Inspired


Afraid


Amused


Annoyed
In a letter to US lawmakers Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the Treasury will being "extraordinary measures" to avoid the fiscal cliff. The US government will hit its legal borrowing limit by Monday, and with no resolution on budget talks, Geithner can take action that would give another $200 billion in headroom to keep it operating until February or early March - putting off a full-blown debt crisis. President Barack Obama cuts short his Hawaii vacation to return to Washington to try to hammer out a deal. Geithner blames "significant uncertainty that now exists with regard to unresolved tax and spending policies for 2013."

Read Geithner's letter here



Recall

3. Toyota to pay $1.1 billion to settle suit



Happy


Sad


Angry


Don't Care


Inspired


Afraid


Amused


Annoyed
In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration declared that Toyota's design could cause acceleration pedals to get caught in the floor mats. That triggered its largest recall ever and has now led to the largest auto industry settlement of a suit filed in 2010 - if approved. Toyota offered to pay about $1.1 billion to install new safety equipment. The proposed settlement, filed in a Federal District Court in California, "would make cash payments for the loss of value on vehicles affected by multiple recalls and install special safety features on up to 3.2 million cars."

Read more on the New York Times.



Aftermath

4. Pablo devastation continues; bodies still unburied



Happy


Sad


Angry


Don't Care


Inspired


Afraid


Amused


Annoyed
More than 3 weeks after the Philippines strongest tropical cyclone, Typhoon Pablo (international name Bopha), hit the Philippines, bodies remain unburied as communities struggle to cope with the aftermath during the holiday seasons. Government says it affected more than 6.2 million Filipinos, killing more than 1,000 people with hundreds still missing. In Compostela Valley, bodies covered in tarp and body bags, bones jutting out, still line open fields and streets.

Read more on Rappler. This holiday season, text to help



Election Impact

5. Delaying elections in Pablo-hit areas can affect Senate vote



Happy


Sad


Angry


Don't Care


Inspired


Afraid


Amused


Annoyed
5 months before the May 2013 elections, 6 provinces remain under a state of calamity: Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Misamis Oriental, Siquijor, Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur. NDRRMC suggested delaying the polls because the schools where they will be held have to be rebuilt. That poses a dilemma for Comelec because the 6 provinces' combined voters - 2.13 million from 2010 elections - will affect who wins the last few seats at the Senate.

Read more on Rappler.



#Egypt

6. Morsi signs new constitution into law



Happy


Sad


Angry


Don't Care


Inspired


Afraid


Amused


Annoyed
After a contentious 2-step vote, President Mohammed Morsi signs Egypt's new constitution into law on Wednesday. Pushed to power with the help of his Islamist allies, Morsi believes the best way to end political uncertainty is to adopt the new constitution and hold elections for a new Parliament soon. He admitted Egypt faces serious economic problems soon after the Egyptian pound tumbled to its lowest leave in nearly 8 years. The Arab spring led to the end of a dictatorship, but the long political turmoil is taking its toll on Egypt's economy.

Read more on Reuters.



Longest Train

7. World's longest bullet train service launched in China



Happy


Sad


Angry


Don't Care


Inspired


Afraid


Amused


Annoyed
The first trains left Beijing on their way to Guangzhou Wednesday, the maiden voyage of the world's longest high-speed rail line. This means the new 2,290-kilometer line can whisk passengers from the capital to the southern commercial hub in just 8 hours, compared to the 22 hours it used to take. State media reported December 26 was the launch to commemorate the birth of revered leader Mao Zedong. China's high-speed rail network was first established in 2007 and is now the world's largest - a symbol of its growing power as the world's second largest economy. Still, there are problems - graft and safety scandals like a collision in July 2011 that killed 40 people.

Read more on Rappler.



#Syria

8. Syrian general defects



Happy


Sad


Angry


Don't Care


Inspired


Afraid


Amused


Annoyed
The general who was supposed to stop defections is himself defecting! This is the latest signal that momentum is shifting against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in a civil war that has raged for nearly 2 years. In a video on Al Arabiya, Maj. Gen. Abdul Azia Jassem al-Shallal, the highest-ranking military officer to defect so far, publicly announced the Syrian military has deviated from "its fundamental mission to protect the nation."

Read more on the New York Times.




#MMFF

9. Metro Manila Film Festival Reviews



Happy


Sad


Angry


Don't Care


Inspired


Afraid


Amused


Annoyed
It's the 38th annual Metro Manila Film Festival, and on opening day, Sisterakas grosses the most in the box office. Carljoe Javier, who teaches at the UP Department of English and Comparative Literature, reviews all the offerings. What movies should you watch? Francis Quina, who also teaches creative writing, literature and English at UP, gives you his must watch movies. Read his list and Javier's reviews of 'Si Agimat, Si Enteng Kabisote,' 'Shake, Rattle and Roll IV,' 'Thy Womb,' 'One More Try,' and 'Sisteraka.'



Box Office

10. Christmas Box Office: 'Les Mis' No. 1; 'Django Unchained' No. 2



Happy


Sad


Angry


Don't Care


Inspired


Afraid


Amused


Annoyed



In the US, Universal's 'Les Miserables' opened to No. 1 with a box office take of $18.2 million, doing better than expected. Quentin Tarantino's R-rated 'Django Unchained' came in second with $15 million. Theater fans have been waiting for the film version of the Victor Hugo hit because it combines a star-studded cast with a theatrical approach to making a musical film. Actors don't prerecord their songs in the studio which is the way it's normally done. Instead, with just a piano funnelled into their earphones, actresses like Anne Hathaway are filmed singing live while they're acting - a technique that promises a more emotional experience.

Read more about box office numbers on the Hollywood Reporter and watch the actors and actresses talk about the movie's new approach to live singing.