The wRap


Your World in 10 - July 12, 2012 Edition

Power Balance

1. Clinton, ASEAN & China



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ARF, the ASEAN Regional Forum, holds its annual meeting Thursday. It is the only body which pulls together the major players globally into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations security issues. Front and center: the US role in balancing perceived Chinese aggressions but it's got its own history to deal with in the region. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stopped in Laos Wednesday, the first time a top American diplomat has visited the country in 57 years. She visited an artificial limb center and saw stark reminders of the Vietnam war.


Read more about Laos on the New York Times and about the US role in regional security on Rappler.




Conflict

2. Split on South China Sea



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The ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) focus on the disputes that may flare into open conflict in the South China Sea. The group is sharply divided on a code of conduct it began a decade ago which now faces renewed commitment after open flare-ups between China, the Philippines & Vietnam. 4 ASEAN nations as well as Taiwan and China claim disputed areas. Sources say the Philippines is pushing ASEAN to mention the Scarborough Shoal dispute but is facing resistance. The US wants ASEAN "to clearly outline its position on Scarborough Shoal" and "to complete a regional code of conduct in a timely fashion."

Read more about the debate and the Philippines & US positions - all on Rappler.




Goodbye

3. Zsaza breaks down, sings for Dolphy



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It was a heartbreaking moment when Zsazsa Padilla, Dolphy's long-time partner, broke down, gasped for air and walked offstage at Wednesday's necrological services. The unbearable moment was even more pronounced because seconds before, her beautiful voice rang out clearly as she sang a Kenny Rogers song that left those listening in tears: I can't remember when you weren’t there / When I didn’t care for anyone but you / I swear, we've been through everything there is / Can’t imagine anything we’ve missed / Can’t imagine anything the two of us won’t do / Through the years, you’ve never let me down / You’ve turned my life around / The sweetest days I found, I found with you / Through the years, I’ve never been afraid / I love the life we’ve made / Im so glad I stayed right here with you / Through the years


Read more on Rappler.




Mining

4. EO 79 'not perfect but very good'



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A long-awaited and delayed Executive Order outlining this administration's positions on sustainable mining was released this week. The Philippines has the fifth largest mineral reserves around the world, but little of the existing revenues go to the Filipino people under existing laws. Mining has also become extremely controversial in recent years, with groups calling for a total mining ban. Much needs to be fixed, and Ateneo School of Government's Dean Tony La Vina and Atty. Alaya de Leon tell us why EO 79 is "not perfect but very good."


Read more on Rappler.




Power Struggle

5. Egypt's Parliament in legal limbo



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A chaotic power struggle between its military and the Muslim Brotherhood is creating deep fissures in Egypt's fledgling government, effectively pushing its Parliament into legal limbo. After Egypt's highest court dissolved the Islamist-led Parliament last month, newly elected President Mohamed Morsi reinstated it on Sunday, paving the way for the People's Assembly to meet Tuesday. Then Supreme Constitutional Court annulled President Morsi's Sunday decree. If this holds, Egypt's military will appoint a new one.


Read more on Rappler.




Defection #2

6. Syria's Ambassador to Iraq joins the revolution



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He resigned on Facebook. Syria's ambassador to Iraq said he now joins the revolution, making him the most senior diplomat to defect from the Bashar Assad regime. Nawaf Fares posted a video on Facebook announcing his resignation: "I declare that I have joined, from this moment, the ranks of the revolution of the Syrian people." He is the first serving diplomat to defect in 17 months of unrest. He is also the second prominent Syrian to defect in less than a week. Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass, the son of a former defense minister and an Assad confidant, fled Syria last week. Will more defections follow?


Read more on Rappler, The New York Times, and NPR




Euro Watch

7. Spain austerity plan boosted to $80 billion



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The euro-zone's fourth-largest economy, Spain, may not grow at all next year, warned Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy when he announced new austerity measures aimed at cutting Madrid's budget deficit by $80 billion. Rajoy called on his countrymen to back the measures, which include raising value-added tax from 18% to 21% as well as cuts to jobless benefits and public-sector wages. As he spoke during a 6 hour parliament debate, hundreds of coal miners and their supporters protested in madrid against government plans to end subsidies for their sector. Some threw rocks and firecrackers at police, signs of growing social unrest as Spain tries to deal with an unprecedented, five-year-long crisis.


Read more on the Wall Street Journal




Cure?

8. Rare gene mutation prevents Alzheimer's



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Researchers discovered a mutation that prevents Alzheimer's disease, a devastating brain disorder that effectively erases memory and identity. Announced Wednesday, the protective mutation is very rare and slows down the production of beta amyloid in the brain, protecting the brain from Alzheimer's. It bolsters the theory that excess beta amyloid causes Alzheimer's and brings renewed hope to drug companies' efforts to create a cure, none of which have been successful so far. The discovery's implication for drug development "is hugely important," said Dr. David Altshuler, a genomics expert at Harvard Medical School.


Read more on the New York Times and the original announcement in Nature




Alliances

9. NBC splits with Microsoft online, partners with Facebook for Olympics



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Howard Kurtz reports that Microsoft and NBC plan to split ways, with NBC buying out the software giant. Those familiar with the deal say officials will rebrand MSNBC.com, which ranks among the top three in online news sites, as NBCNews.com. The announcement, writes Kurtz, is "expected within days, although there could always be a last-minute snag. NBC also plans to partner with Facebook for the Olympics in an attempt to merge television and social conversations.
Read more about the online split on the Daily Beast and about the Facebook partnership on the New York Times.



Balls

10. Tapping the power of social to get balls for peace in Sulu



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Instead of giving them guns, give them soccer balls. That's what Maj. Stephen Cabanlet told Rappler's Carlos Santamaria, outlining how the sport can instill discipline, passion & allow enemies to play together in Jolo, Sulu. Sports for peace. He said the marines was building a league but didn't have balls. Rappler's Natashya Gutierrez took that to heart. On her 25th birthday, she started a Facebook page "25 balls for my 25th" and sent an appeal on Twitter. Before her birthday was over, she had pledges for 50 balls - with more coming.
Read about Natashya's social media campaign here and the story which sparked it all.