The wRap


Your World in 10 - January 1, 2013 Edition

Falling Over

1. US misses fiscal cliff deadline



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The US Congress formally missed the deadline to prevent the so-called fiscal cliff, a combination of tax increases and spending cuts to start at midnight. The Senate reached a last-minute deal Monday, December 31, but the House adjourned without voting. The Senate is expected to vote in the early hours of Tuesday morning, with the House to consider a bill later. The fiscal cliff could lead to a recession but Congress can prevent its worst effects in the New Year’s Day vote.


Read more on CNN and the BBC




Expensive Vices

2. Sin tax law takes effect



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Tobacco and alcohol products got more expensive as the sin tax reform law takes effect Tuesday, January 1. The tax rate for cigarettes with a net retail price of less than P11.50 went up to P12 while it increased to P25 for cigarettes priced at P11.50 or more. For fermented liquor, tax rates went up to P15 for those priced below P50.60, and P20 for those priced P50.60 and more. Tax rates for distilled spirits will be P20 plus 15%. President Benigno Aquino III signed sin tax reform into law in December to generate more revenues for the government’s health program.


Read more on Rappler




Great Loss

3. Celebrities, Church leaders honor Reuter



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Media personalities and Church leaders paid tribute to Jesuit priest James Reuter. He died of lung and heart failure Monday, December 31. He was 96. Kim Atienza and Gabe Mercado, so-called Reuter babies, remembered him as a supportive mentor. Catholic bishops called Reuter “communicator par excellence,” recognizing his use of the media during the Martial Law years. He was instrumental in the formation of the Family Rosary Crusade and the Jesuit Communications.


Read more on Rappler




Election Year

4. Aquino: Vote for clean governance



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President Benigno Aquino III urged Filipinos to be wise voters in the 2013 midterm polls. “2013 is a critical chapter in our crusade for long-term development and clean governance,” he said in his New Year message. Aquino said sustaining his reforms depends on who will be elected. Aquino’s ruling Liberal Party seeks to get a majority of seats in Congress and local positions. It will be up against the opposition United Nationalist Alliance, and other parties and independent candidates. The polls are seen as a referendum of Aquino’s leadership.


Read more on Rappler




Welcome, 2013

5. World rings in New Year with spectacle



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Fireworks, concerts and festivities unfolded around the globe to ring in the New Year. New York’s Time Square was packed for the traditional ball drop following lavish fireworks displays in Sydney, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Dubai, home of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. In Myanmar, 90,000 people gathered for the country’s first New Year countdown in decades. New Delhi, India canceled festivities after the death of a gang-rape victim. Revelers worldwide look to 2013 with hope after a year of economic turmoil, violence and natural disasters.


Read more on the Huffington Post




Horrible Year

6. MVP’s 2012 breakups and makeups



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Businessman Manuel V Pangilinan looked back at 2012 as “annus horribilis,” a horrible year. From the failure of GMA7 acquisition talks to “irreconcilable differences” with his alma mater Ateneo, MVP’s year was filled with breakups and makeups. Complications with government projects and his name being dragged into the South China Sea drama also gave Pangilinan a tough year. Yet something positive came out of the challenges. He said the year taught him an important lesson, “Patience.”


Read more on Rappler




Getting Well

7. Clinton recovering from blood clot near brain



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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is suffering from a rare blood clot in a vein between her brain and the skull behind her right ear. Doctors said the clot did not result in any stroke or neurological damage. They said she is making progress in her recovery and is in good spirits. She is undergoing treatment at a New York hospital. This is Clinton’s latest medical problem after falling ill with a stomach bug in December, fainting and suffering a concussion. It comes as she is set to step down as America’s top diplomat.


Read more on Rappler




Pinoy Pride

8. Cebuana wins Miss Tourism International



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The Philippines’ Rizzini Alexis Gomez was crowned Miss Tourism International in a beauty pageant held in Malaysia. Gomez bested 55 finalists to win the title. The 22-year-old Cebuana nurse was a Miss World Philippines 2012 contender. She is the first Filipina to win the Miss Tourism International pageant since 2000. Her victory comes after the Philippines’ Janine Tugonon won first runner-up in Miss Universe in December.


Read more on Rappler




Baby News

9. Kim Kardashian: We’re so blessed, lucky



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American socialite Kim Kardashian welcomed the New Year by celebrating her pregnancy. Kardashian’s boyfriend, musician Kanye West broke the news during a concert in Atlantic City. On her website, the reality TV star said, “We feel so blessed and lucky …. Looking forward to great new beginnings in 2013 and to starting a family.” The two have been dating for about 8 months. Kardashian, the most-searched person online in 2012, is still legally married to basketball player Kris Humphries but filed for divorce after just 72 days of marriage.


Read more on USA Today




Goodbye Gangnam

10. Psy retiring Gangnam Style



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After becoming a global sensation, South Korean singer Psy said he will retire Gangnam Style because “the song became too popular.” Psy performed the hit during the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square, New York but said “It may be the end of Gangnam Style.” Psy clarified he still has other offers to do the number but “you start to have some concern about its life period.” He added, “I’m really working hard on a new single right now.” Gangnam Style is now the most viewed Youtube video and has been performed by top celebrities and world leaders.


Read more on MTV.com