The wRap


Your World in 10 - June 26, 2012 Edition

Euro Woes

1. Markets hit by euro fears; Cyprus applies for a bailout



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Cyprus applies for a bailout Monday while Wall Street tumbled to its close as European volatility continues despite an upcoming European Union summit. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 138 points along with other market indicators. The S&P 500 seems set to just break even for June. Asian shares also fell back Monday, with the Shanghai Composite falling 1.6% to its lowest level since January while Japan's Nikkei Stock Average declined 0.7%. Negative emotions continue to dominate as analysts say they doubt whether the EU summit will result in any concrete action that could stop the rollercoaster ride.


Read more about markets on the Wall Street Journal and about Cyprus on Reuters




Church woes

2. Vatican donation doesn't go to Ondoy victims



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An ongoing Rappler investigation shows that church donations may not have gone to its intended recipients. In the latest development, investigative reporter Aries Rufo obtains a ledger report which shows Vatican donations intended for victims of 2009 typhoon Ondoy [international codename Ketsana] never reached them. The ledger shows the Vatican's Pontifical Council Cor Unum for Human and Christian Development donated 10,000 euro or P697,500. The remittances to typhoon victims show only about 16% or around P263,000 of the total P1.6 million in donations had been disbursed. The balance, which includes the donations from the Vatican, was "reclassified" to the Caritas account which contains other donations from various sources. The Caritas account is deposited in a Bank of the Philippine Islands special account. The balance sheet of the diocese shows it had P91.5 million in its BPI special deposit account. Members of the Paranaque clergy and lay leaders accuse Bishop Jesse Mercado of diverting the money. They want Rome to investigate the alleged misappropriation, which violates Church law on donations. Rappler first reported this on June 18. Mercado denies the allegations and says "all donations have receipts and are promptly turned over to their intended beneficiaries."


Read more on Rappler




Politics

3. President Aquino tells ruling party: look beyond elections



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How can the Liberal Party maintain continuity between the initiatives of the government of President Aquino and future administrations? It must look beyond next year's mid-term and the 2016 presidential elections. Putting together the local machinery is important, says Liberal Party spokesman Erin Tanada, because local politicians will bring in the votes. He says the list of possible candidates for senator now includes 32 names. Exactly how many senators will Filipinos elect next year, 12 or 13? Well, Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes says that depends on whether or not Sen. Miriam Santiago will resign to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).


Read more about 2013 elections and President Aquino's points to the Liberal Party here - all on Rappler.




Deficit

4. Philippines hikes spending



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While the countries in the west have been setting up their austerity plans, the Philippines is hiking its actual spending. When the Aquino government reported its fiscal status in May, the focus is not on the P20 billion deficit (which brings the 5-month total to P22.8 billion) but on the total expenses for the month: P151.3 billion. This actual spending is not only the biggest for the year but the most significant since the Aquino government promised to make up for not spending funds already approved and allocated. The government held back spending on infrastructure, which in turn was supposed to spur economic growth, to rid the process of irregularities. Infrastructure spending is typically higher during the months preceding the rainy season.


Read more on Rappler




Sexy

5. Business for social good



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A restaurant that's helping create a market for all parts of the coconut for the benefit of coconut farmers. A fashion brand that produces beautifully-designed and elegantly-crafted bags and notebooks for the high-end market out leatherette from water hyacinth, one of the most invasive plants in the world, clogging lakes and rivers in the Philippines. A group that builds houses for the poor. What do these have in common? They are all products of a movement that seeks to change how people do business.


Read about social entrepreneurship, the "new sexy," on Rappler




Social Media

6. Facebook: Sandberg, thumbs up; Email addresses, thumbs down



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Social network giant Facebook earned cheers when it finally appointed a female to its formerly all-male board. The company announced on Monday, June 25, Sheryl Sandberg, its chief operating officer at Facebook, has joined the company’s board of directors. On the same day, however, the company reaped criticisms after it changed the default email of its users to @facebook.com--without asking.


Read about Sanberg's appointment to the Facebook board here.


Read about how to restore your old default email for your Facebook account here




Threats

7. Abu Sayyaf, Cyberthreats & Economic Espionage



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The terrorist threat has evolved in the 11 years since 9/11. In the Philippines, groups once affiliated with al-Qaeda have turned to crime. Philippine authorities link the Abu Sayyaf and members of the MNLF to recent kidnappings in the southern Philippines. Among the people kidnapped are an Australian, 2 Europeans and, most recently, a Jordanian journalist who was summoned by al-Qaeda's top leaders for an interview shortly before the 9/11 attacks. In Seattle, the International Security Management Association gathers security experts and the top security officers of Fortune 500 companies to assess the threats facing the world today, ranging from al-Qaeda linked groups to cyberthreats and economic espionage.


Read more about the hostaged Jordanian and the security threat assessment here - all on Rappler.




Egypt

8. Mixed reactions to Morsi's win in Egypt



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Washington publicly proclaimed the victory of Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi in the recently held presidential elections in Egypt as positive development for democracy in Middle East and a model for other Arab states attempting political transitions. The Wall Street Journal reports, however that beneath the public pronouncements, fears are mounting inside U.S. national-security agencies about the prospects for Washington's alliance with Cairo, as well as for the regional interests of the U.S. and its allies. While praising the election, WSJ reports that the White House cautioned Cairo's new leader Sunday to respect the rights of non-Muslims and women as he forms a government.


Read about it on the Wall Street Journal




Pride

9. Gay pride, "gays deserve death" & Obama vote



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It's gay pride month - and just in time, a reminder that many are barely tolerant of gay lifestyles. A Salvation Army media relations director, Major Andrew Craibe, told gay Australian journalists Serena Ryan and Pete Dillon that death for gay people is "part of our belief system ... you know, we have an alignment with the Scriptures, but that's our belief." The Salvation Army tried to distance itself from these statements, saying it "believes in the sanctity of all human life and believes it would be inconsistent with Christian teaching to call for anyone to be put to death." On the other end of the spectrum, after Barack Obama's open support of gay rights, including marriage, campaign volunteers were out in force during Sunday's pride march - hoping to harness the gay vote for elections.

Read & hear the Salvation Army interview on the Atlantic and gay pride and Obama politics on the New York Times.



The Last

10. Lonesome George dies, last of its kind



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The world is--once again--one subspecies poorer with the death of Lonesome George, the last of the Pinta Island giant tortoises. Before he passed away on Sunday, June 24, Lonesome George served as a symbol of conservation efforts in the Galapagos Islands. He had no known offspring, the Galapagos National Park in Ecuador said in a statement.


Read about it on Rappler