The wRap


Your World in 10 - March 19, 2012 Edition

East Timor

1. World Famous Ramos-Horta Loses Local Polls



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Nobel Peace Prize (1996) awardee Jose Ramos-Horta, East Timor's current president, has lost his bid for re-election, failing to make it to a run-off in the country's 2nd presidential vote as a free nation, preliminary results showed. Ramos-Horta, who became world famous for his efforts to bring peace to his homeland, lagged in 3rd place after more than 70% of votes were counted on March 18. In May, East Timor will celebrate 10 years of independence from Indonesia, and in June, voters will choose a new government in a general election. By end-2012, this nation of 1.1 million people will bid goodbye to UN forces stationed in the country since 1999.

Read more on Rappler.




Football

2. Azkals Make History, Place 3rd in Int'l Tournament



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For the first time in recent history, the men's Philippine football team made it to the playoffs of an international tournament. On Monday, March 19, the Azkals brought home a bronze medal after it bested Palestine 4-3 in the 2012 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup playoffs. The 3rd placers entered the tournament as underdogs but battled their way through the group stage and qualified for the semis. The Azkals' victory is expected to further fuel interest in a sport considered to be ideal for Filipinos. Basketball, a tall man's game, has been the one of the most popular sports in the country.

Learn more from Rappler's live blog and summary report.




Political Economy

3. Uphill Battle for Taxes



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It's now or probably never. The fate of proposed reforms on sin products taxes -- as well as the economic targets of President Aquino -- has to be sealed this 2012 since the possibility of getting more revenues from cigarettes and alcohol products dims in the remaining years of the current government. Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima seems to be staking his all in this piece of legislation, backing the Abaya Bill in the Lower House and rallying the support of Malacanang and political allies. But he and the P60 billion a year additional revenues he is eyeing are against the mighty North Luzon bloc in the House, as well as members of the National Peoples' Coalition led by billionaire businessman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr, the president's own uncle. How then can 'Aquinomics' work when the government coffers don't have enough?

More:

Philippine Star's Compromise eyed on sin tax bill

Interaksyon's PNoy relatives oppose Palace sin tax plan







Climate Change

4. Stop More Migration to Asian Sinking Cities



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An Asian Development Bank (ADB) report said there is a link between expected climate change and migration. The Economist cited its key finding: In 2010-11 alone 42 million people in Asia were displaced by “extreme” weather. This is because the cities in Asia - Manila included - are hit by constant floods as waterways are clogged or because these places are sinking. A recent World Bank report says that land subsidence from compaction (from new skyscrapers, for instance) and increased groundwater extraction (for a growing population) mean that Indonesia's Jakarta is sinking 10 times faster than the Java Sea is rising because of climate change. Thus, Manila's effort to boost physical flood defenses will only go so far. Just as important is a willingness to limit or relocate urban and industrial expansion.

Read more from the Economist.




Obituaries

5. Goodbyes: A King And A Billionaire



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The death of key personalities in world royalty and business hit global news over the weekend.

The king of Tonga, George Tupou V, who was credited with introducing democracy to this archipelago in the South Pacific after riots following his ascension in 2006, died in a Hong Kong hospital on Sunday, March 18. He reportedly had been battling a liver-related disease. The Oxford-educated king ascended to the throne after the death of his father. His younger brother will likely replace him since he is not married though has a child outside of marriage.

Meanwhile, Thailand's 3rd richest man, Chaleo Yoovidhya, passed away due to "natural causes" on Saturday, March 17. He co-founded Red Bull, an iconic sports tonic brand known all over the world, boosting his wealth to about $5 billion, according to Forbes magazine. Chaleo didn't finish school but was a voracious reader of all things business and law, said his son who has been active in running the business empire. Chaleo is a considered "a business genius" in Thailand.

Read about the king of Tonga and Chaleo Yoovidhya on Rappler.




Swimming

6. Ian Thorpe Fails in 2012 Olympic bid



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Sports icon Ian Thorpe dashed hopes of fans to see him at the 2012 Olympics in London after failing to make the cut in the semi-finals of the qualifiers in the 100-meter freestyle match on Sunday, March 18. The 5-time Olympic Champion came out of retirement in 2011 and had struggled to post competitive times since returning to the pool. The Australian said he will carry on.

Read more from the BBC and Rappler.




Elections

7. Pastor Beats Journalist in Germany polls



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A former Lutheran pastor and civil rights activist easily defeated his main rival who is a former Nazi hunter and journalist.

Joachim Gauck, from the former communist East, has been elected as Germany's new president after gaining 991 votes from the MPs. Rival Beate Klarsfeld only got 126 votes. The 72-year-old Gauk is not affiliated with any political party but is well-loved for taking a stand on controversial issues. He will replace Christian Wulff, who resigned last month in a scandal over financial favors.

Read more from BBC.




Aviation Safety

8. No New Or Additional Direct Flights To US, Europe Yet?



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Why are there less tourists from Europe? Why is Philippine Airlines the only one flying direct to the US? It's not the Philippine carriers. It's the Philippine government. Specifically, it's the aviation body that oversees the implementation of global safety standards. Recent news about the much-expected lifting of the ban on Philippine carriers to mount new and additional flights to the US, European Union countries (and almost South Korea, too) do not inspire confidence. The Philippine Star reported that the overall efforts of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and its attached agency, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), are likely not enough for the compliance reviewers of their US counterparts. Results of the review is expected this March or April.

Read more from The Philippine Star




Labor Outsourcing

9. Nike Might Have Found 'The One'



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Nike, the world's largest sporting goods company, thought it has discovered a new process that reduces shoe production costs that could bring back outsourced jobs in Asia back to the US. Bloomberg Businessweek reported that, as Nike was designing the production process for a new minimalist running shoe called the Flyknit, the executives were not only excited by the possible blockbuster product but more so by the manufacturing advance that makes the Flyknit possible. "The computer-controlled weaving technology, which knits the entire upper part of the shoe in a single piece that’s then attached to the sole, promises to cut labor costs and production time while also increasing profit margins and opportunities for personalization," the magazine described. But it seemed that despite the shipping days it take to bring final producs shoes from its factories in Asia to the shelves in the US, Nike realized cheaper labor markets in Asia still rule.

Read more from BloombergBusinessweek.




Social Media

10. Facebook, YouTube Tame Wild Vacations



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The fear of being betrayed by a friend who would post pictures or videos of wild partying during a school break on social media sites has apparently influenced most teenagers to be more careful and choosy when out for fun. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites that could make a regret-worthy documentation of a teenager letting his or hair down after grueling school semester go viral are the new Big Brother. Some schools, blogs, magazines, groups have a list of do's and dont's for spring break.

Read more from New York Times.