The wRap


Your World in 10 - January 24, 2012 Edition

World Economic Forum

1. Aquino, anti-corruption and Davos



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Philippine President Benigno Aquino III left on January 23 for Davos, Switzerland, to attend the World Economic Forum where he will deliver a keynote address on fighting corruption. Joining the global forum for the first time, the President is also expected to invite more investors and tourists to the Philippines. Among the business executives the President will meet are key officials of German car manufacturer Volkswagen, who have expressed interest in re-establishing operations in the Philippines. The Philippine government is spending P49-M for this trip, which includes at least 7 Cabinet Secretaries.

Read the full story on Rappler

Read about the Volkswagen meeting here





Military

2. US to allow women in combat



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In a move that marks yet another sweeping change for the military under President Barack Obama's administration, the defense department says it will lift a ban on women serving in combat. Last year, the US military lifted a prohibition on openly gay troops. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, are expected to announce the "lifting of the direct combat exclusion rule for women in the military," according to a defense official. This would open hundreds of thousands of combat posts to American women.

Read the full story on Rappler




Politics

3. Ugly Senate war



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"They cannot destroy me as Senate President." Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile stood by his fierce attacks on Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, even further digging into the supposed debts of his late father. He ruled out a reconciliation with his critics in the Senate, adding: "I can work with them. I have my majority. I don’t need the minority. I can pass laws without them. That is the essence of a majority." Enrile's statements came a day after he engaged Cayetano in an ugly word war on the Senate floor. The spat prompted the resignation of Enrile's chief of staff Jessica "Gigi" Reyes.


Read the full story on Rappler




Regional Affairs

4. Negroponte: PH move vs China futile



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Former US Ambassador to Manila John Negroponte believes Manila's decision to bring its territorial dispute with China to an international tribunal may be futile. He points out the tribunal only has authority over the sea dispute if both parties have agreed to have it decide the case. The American diplomat who spent over 40 years serving in the State Department believes the US will pull out majority of its military forces in Afghanistan similar to what it did in Iraq. In Manila with a business delegation, Negroponte sat down with Rappler CEO Maria Ressa for Rappler's #talkthursday.


Watch the full interview on Rappler





Sex Crime

5. Indian panel recommends tougher punishment



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A government panel reviewing India's sex crime laws after the fatal gang-rape of a student in New Delhi proposed tougher jail terms, but stopped short of calling for the death sentence. A panel member said the maximum sentence for gang-rape should be raised to a full life term, meaning convicts must spend the the rest of their lives behind bars. Other recommendations include maximum sentences of 7 years for stripping a woman, 3 years for stalking, 4 years for groping and 7 years for voyeurism, or spying on women. India's 153-year-old penal code currently stipulates rapists should serve a minimum of 7 years in prison and a maximum life term -- normally commuted to 10-14 years in practice.


Read the full story on Rappler





Tubbataha

6. US ship ruins 1,000 sqm of coral



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About 1,000 sqm of coral was damaged by the US ship that ran aground last week on Tubbataha Reef Natural Park. There was "severe damage" to the rudder and propeller of the USS Guardian and about 1,000 sqm of the 97,030 hectare protected area, according to presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda. He said US Navy and Philippine divers began to assess the extent of damage to the ship and determine the extent of damage to the reef itself. The American minesweeper, which ran aground on January 17 after ignoring warnings by park management, is currently flooded and with no crew members on board.


Read the full story on Rappler




Business

7. Google opens PH office



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Google announced the opening of its fifth Southeast Asian office, touting the Philippines as the location for this new undertaking. At the announcement event, Julian Persaud, Managing Director of Google in Southeast Asia, discussed how Google would be here "for the long term" and opened up the possibility of adapting Google services for less reliable connections. Narciso Reyes, who will serve as Google Philippines' country manager, said that the office's "local team will be committed to providing better services to our Filipino users and to helping businesses - large and small - grow locally and globally, contributing to the growth of the Philippine economy."


Read the full story on Rappler




Tourism

8. 4.27-M tourists in PH: Record high but below goal



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Despite a high number of tourists in the country, the Department of Tourism has stated that it has not met its goal. A total of 4,272,811 foreign tourists visited the Philippines in 2012, according to Department of Tourism's statement on January 23, reflecting a 9.07% increase from the 3,917,454 visitors in 2011.The Department of Tourism was hoping to breach the 4.6-million mark. In spite of not hitting its target, Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez mentions all key source markets registered positive growth for the year.


Read the full story on Rappler




Space Mining

9. US company aims to 'harvest' asteroids



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US company Deep Space Industries (DSI) has announced plans to send a fleet of spacecraft into space. Its purpose: to mine asteroids for metals and other materials in the pursuit of furthering space exploration. DSI plans to send "asteroid-prospecting spacecraft" into the solar system, beginning with 55-pound "FireFlies" in 2015 and 70-pound "DragonFlies" in 2016, to look for samples. DSI predicts that, in 10 years' time,,it will be able to harvest metals and other building materials from space rocks for space-based infrastructure, such as large platforms to replace communications satellites and solar power stations.

Read the full story on Rappler




Entertainment

10. Justin Bieber overtakes Lady Gaga on Twitter



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On Tuesday, January 22, pop star Justin Bieber succeeded in becoming the most-followed person on Twitter, edging out Lady Gaga. Bieber now sports 33,342,299 followers, compared to Lady Gaga's 33,333,682 followers. Of the news, Lady Gaga tweeted that she was "proud of @justinbieber and all the Beliebers! I'm only happy to see your fans growing in size, you all deserve it!" Bieber and Lady Gaga are currently on tour in the United States.

Read the full story on Rappler