The wRap


Your World in 10 - June 5, 2012 Edition

Deadline

1. Congress rushes to pass bills



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After 44 days in session over more than 4 months, Congress now has days to pass urgent reform measures and bills. House Speaker Belmonte says although sessions are scheduled to end on Wednesday, legislators will work overtime up to Friday if needed. He says the sin tax is a priority. The Senate says it will work until Thursday. Two bills amending the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) are pending and need to be passed before an international deadline of June 21 or the Philippines may be blacklisted.

Read more about House priorities here and Senate priorities here - all on Rappler.




Transparency

2. CJ candidates must sign waivers



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A week after the historic vote that ousted former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, the search for the country's top judicial official begins. Jumping off from lessons learned in the impeachment trial, the Judicial Bar & Council (JBC), tasked with creating a shortlist from which President Aquino will choose the next Chief Justice, says it will ask all candidates to sign bank waivers and submit SALNs. All applications should be in by June 18.

Read more on Rappler.




Budget cuts

3. US defense cuts & the move to Asia



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The US says it plans to reposition the majority of its naval fleet to the Asia-Pacific, according to US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. The US government is scrambling to understand the impact of an initiative supported by Republican leaders to cut 8% of the Pentagon's budget by January 2. At least $500 billion will be cut over a decade.

Read more on US domestic impact on the New York Times and Asian impact on Rappler.




Chaos

4. UN truce fails in Syria



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Syrian rebels say a UN-backed truce has failed in Syria after a Friday deadline for a ceasefire passed. Rebels began to attack over the weekend, acknowledged by a Syrian opposition watchdog which said at least 80 Syrian troops were killed in a surge of attacks. International mediator Kofi Annan is expected to address the UN on Thursday and with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday.

Read more on Reuters and about Annan's next moves on Rappler.




Eurozone

5. Europe mulls 'fiscal union'



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At the edge of the precipice in dealing with Greece and Spain's banking crisis, European leaders are thinking about a radical step that could take integration further and lead to an unprecedented loss of sovereignty for member states. The goal is for EU leaders to agree to develop a road map to "fiscal union" at a June 28-29 EU summit, signalling a major policy leap.


Read more on Reuters and how Germany is reacting on the Wall Street Journal




Rare view

6. Transit of Venus starts Tuesday



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Asia will have one of the best views of the Transit of Venus -— a planetary alignment that occurs when Venus passes between the Earth and the sun. A lunar eclipse will set the stage for this rare astronomical events--rarer even than the return of Halley's Comet every 76 years--with Venus appearing as a distinct but tiny round black spot with a diameter just 1/32 that of the sun. The Venus Transit is one of a pair of rare phenomena which happen 8 years apart, with the dual events only taking place approximately every 105 years. Venus will transit west-to-east across the solar disk over a period of 6 hours and 40 minutes, passing through Greenland and far-northern portions of Canada, all of Alaska and Hawaii, central and eastern Asia, New Zealand and the eastern half of Australia.

Read more about Venus on Rappler; see a video on the Wall Street Journal; and see infographic on space.com




Acquisition

7. Google gobbles Meebo



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Google expands from search to social. On Monday, social media developer Meebo announced on its blog that it has agreed to be purchased by Google. No amount was named but an earlier report mentioned about $100 million. This purchase allows internet giant Google to consolidate the instant sharing of Web pages using social networks.

Read more on Rappler.




Sex & God

8. Vatican denounces nun for book on sexuality



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Sister Margaret A. Farley, an award-winning scholar, past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and who taught Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School, was formally censured by the Vatican on Monday for her book which presents a theological rationale for same-sex relationships, masturbation and remarriage after divorce. It's the latest internal clash within the Catholic church, showing how modern life is challenging long-held religious norms. Sister Farley says her book offers "contemporary interpretations" and moves away from a "taboo morality."

Read more on the New York Times.




Sleep Study

9. Sleeping together may help you live longer



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It's long been said women love to cuddle, but now a new study shows sleeping together with your partner may help you live healthier and longer. A burgeoning field of study debunks everyday complaints of sleep cycles and disturbing movements to encourage couples to sleep in the same bed - despite these disturbances. Sleeping together provides a feeling of security and safety, showing that it may help bring down levels of a stress hormone called cortisol and cytokines, involved in inflammation. It also elevates levels of oxytocin, the "love hormone." All in all, researchers say the psychological benefits may outweigh the disturbances of having another person in your bed.

Read more on Rappler




The Fairest of Them All

10. Snow White's New Twists



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Snow White and the Huntsman was the fairest of them all at the weekend box office in the United States, beating Men in Black 3. Starring Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart of "Twilight" fame as well as "Avengers" Chris Hemworth, the movie offers new twists to the old tale, but it falls short of delivering the bang it promises. Still, though the special effects will keep you entertained.

Read the Rappler review and the box office take here.