The wRap


Your World in 10 - June 20, 2012 Edition

Global growth

1. Growth plan laid out at G20 Summit



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Leaders of the world’s largest economies wrapped up talks in Mexico on the second and last day of the G20 Summit. In a statement of unity, the leaders affirmed their commitment to strong sustainable and balanced growth as the top priority of the G20. The leaders also agreed to put up a united front behind efforts to repair an ailing global economy through the Los Cabos Growth and Jobs Action Plan, and called on Europe to take measures to overcome the eurozone debt crisis. Although details of the plan were not immediately available, the Plan supports countries with the resources to “stand ready” and take fiscal action through greater government spending in response to the economic crisis. One such example is a pledge by the Obama administration to stop steep tax increases from kicking in at the end of 2012 to avoid the US from entering another recession.

Read more on Time




New government

2. Political parties in Greece close in on coalition gov’t



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Representatives from three of the four top political parties in Greece meet today in Athens to discuss the formation of a coalition government. For the second time this year, parliamentary elections were held last Sunday, June 17, and similar to the elections in May, not one political party was able to secure enough seats to form a government on its own. The challenge now for elected leaders of New Democracy, Pasok, and the Democratic Party is to find a consensus on policies that would govern a working coalition. A key issue in the discussion is how the new government will address Greece’s debt crisis, including the bailout package from international lenders and whether or not Greece should remain in the euro.

Details on the New York Times




Not there yet

3. Philippine credit rating stays below investment grade



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Despite efforts from the country’s economic managers to highlight the Philippine government’s governance and anti-poverty efforts, credit agency Fitch Ratings has decided to keep the country’s below investment grade rating as is. Economic officials have continued to pitch for the country’s rating to be upgraded to an investment grade--which translates to lower borrowing rates but the ratings firm is not fully convinced. In a statement, it said, “The Aquino administration's reform agenda has focused on tackling perceived shortcomings in governance and poverty and has the potential to address long-standing structural weaknesses. However, it will likely take time to feed through to the sovereign credit profile.”

More details on Rappler




Disqualified

4. Pakistani Supreme Court disqualifies PM from office



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Pakistan’s Supreme Court declared Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani ineligible to hold office, following his refusal to re-open a corruption case against Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. The decision released Tuesday, June 19, is retroactive to April 26, the day Gilani was convicted of contempt charges. While Pakistan is currently in a state of political turmoil, the high court’s decision is not seen to affect the standing of the unpopular ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). PPP has the numbers in parliament to elect a new prime minister before the end of their five-year term in February.

Read more on CNN




Pinoys in Syria

5. DOLE: Hundreds of Pinoys tricked into working in Syria each month



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An average of 100 Filipinos, mostly women, are being duped by illegal recruiters into going to Syria to work each month. This is despite a travel ban that prohibits Filipinos from traveling to the war-stricken country. According to a spokesperson from the Department of Labor and Employment, these OFWs are being lured under false pretenses and assured of their safety. Over 7,000 Filipinos remain in Syria despite the government's order for mandatory evacuation back in December 2011, and only 1,500 heeded the order to return home. Thousands have died in Syria in a year-long uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

More details on Rappler




#phvote 2013

6. UNA gets Comelec nod



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The Commission on Elections has approved the application of the United Nationalist Alliance as a political coalition for the May 13, 2013 elections. UNA is an alliance between the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) of former President Joseph Estrada, and the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) of Vice President Jejomar Binay. Even before its accreditation, UNA has already been putting together its senatorial slate. Earlier this month, the coalition had announced its initial set of senatorial bets, which includes political rivals Sen. Koko Pimentel and resigned Sen. Migz Zubiri. Binay-led UNA is expected to go up against President Benigno Aquino III’s Liberal Party (LP) in 2013.

More details on Rappler




Last shot

7. Assange seeks asylum from Ecuador



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In a last ditch effort to fight his extradition, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is seeking political asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Last week, the British Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Assange to reopen his appeal fighting for his extradition to Sweden. Swedish prosecutors want him questioned for complaints of sexual misconduct filed against him by two former employees. Assange fears that when extradited to Sweden, he might then be handed over to US authorities who will then charge him for leaking confidential US diplomatic cables on his website.

More details on CNN




NBA Finals

8. One win away for LeBron James and the Miami Heat



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Odds are in favor of the Miami Heat to win the 2012 NBA Championships after their 104-98 victory over the Oklahoma Thunder in Game 4 of their best of 7 series. With this victory, the Heat leads the series 3-1. To win, Oklahoma will have to win the remaining 3 games - no team in NBA history, however, has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit to take the crown. LeBron James scored 26 points, but was later sidelined due to cramps in the closing minute of the game. Oklahoma’s point guard Russel Westbrook was the game's leading scorer with 43 points, including 11 consecutive points to start the 4th quarter.

More details here




Asian power

9. Asians now fastest growing ethic group in the US



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A recent study by the Pew Research Center shows that Asian Americans have overtaken Latinos as the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States, fueled largely by the steady stream of immigrants to the US annually. In 2010, 36% of new US immigrants were Asian. The study also shows that Asian Americans are also the best educated and the highest-income racial group. Broken down further, Chinese Americans at 23% are the largest Asian immigrant group closely followed by Filipinos (20%), Indians (18%), Vietnamese (10%), Korean (10%) and Japanese (7.5%).

Read more from the Pew Research Center

Also read on the Los Angeles Times




Coming in 2014

10. Sleeping Beauty villain becomes a good guy?



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Remember the Disney movie Sleeping Beauty? Disney has just begun filming a 3D film that tells the untold story of Maleficent - the villain sorceress who placed a curse on the baby Aurora and then turns into a horned dragon for the final battle scene in the movie. The movie stars Angelina Jolie in the title role and is scheduled for a March 2014 release. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jolie says the movie is not anti-princess (Aurora will be played by Super 8’s Elle Fanning) and will show that even villains have other warmer qualities. “Maleficent is actually a great person,” Jolie says.

More details here