The wRap


Your World in 10 - March 5, 2013

Forbes' Rich List

1. Billionaires club: Jollibee, Puregold founders in, Cojuangco out



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Eleven Filipino businessmen have made it to Forbes' 2013 list of world billionaires, more than the 6 who were part of the list a year ago. The list included newcomers who are Filipino-Chinese tycoons behind food giant Jollibee, Metrobank, retailer Puregold, power firm National Grid, real estate Filinvest, and construction giant DMCI. Out of the list is politically savvy Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco who has opt out of San Miguel Corp, now controlled by another Forbes billionaire and Marcos era peer, Roberto V. Ongpin. Tycoons Henry Sy and Lucio Tan kept their respective Top 2 spots, while port and casino businessman Enrique Razon edged out Andrew Tan in the 3rd spot. The 11 have a combined wealth of $37.85 billion.


Read more about the Filipino billionaires on Rappler.
Read more about the tech billionaires on Rappler.




Conspiracy Theories

2. PH, Malaysia blame politicians in Sabah 'conspiracy'



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Historians and long-time Southeast Asian watchers cite century-old claims of the sultan of Sulu, Malaysia and its deal with a British trading firm, the Brunei connection, and the other constantly evolving cast of characters in the current Sabah standoff. There's a twist. This time, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who are friends and are both preparing for respective elections, blame their political foes. Aquino cited intelligence reports in "certain members of the past administration" involved in a plot to move against Sabah, while Razak said intelligence services have been tapped to probe a claim that an opposition leader "had a hand" in the standoff that had turned bloody.


Read more about the conspiracy theories on Rappler, here, and here.
Read Thought Leader pieces here and here.




Integrity Check

3. 2 PH firms in ADB's name-and-shame list



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The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) sanctioned 80 firms and individuals for engaging in fraudulent transactions and other corrupt practices in projects financed in 2012. The bank announced it severed ties with those in its latest negative list, which was churned out by integrity division after receiving 240 complaints that resulted in 114 investigations. Among those who are not allowed anymore to participate in any activity financed by lender were Alex Pamatong Trading, its owner Alex Pamatong, and Construction and Mandala Agricultural Development Corp.


Read more on Rappler.




Peace Prize

4. Malala, Bill Clinton among Nobel contenders



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A record 259 nominees are in the running for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. The list of 209 individuals and 50 organizations is known to include Malala Yousafzai, the shot Pakistani schoolgirl-turned-icon of Taliban resistance, ex-Eastern bloc activists, as well as former US president Bill Clinton, Russian human rights organization Memorial and Myanmar's reformist President Thein Sein. The 5-member Norwegian Nobel Committee will announce the winner in early October, and the prize will be awarded on December 10, the anniversary of the death in 1896 of the Nobel Prizes' founder, philanthropist Alfred Nobel.



Read more on Rappler.




Catholic Leader

5. The next pope: selection process starts



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Catholic cardinals began talks on March 4 ahead of a conclave to elect a new pope after Benedict XVI's resignation. The Vatican meetings will set the date for the start of the conclave this March and help identify candidates among the cardinals to be the next leader of the 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide by Easter, March 31. A total of 115 "cardinal electors" -- cardinals aged under 80 -- are expected at the conclave. Among the leading candidates is Manila archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle who is only 55.


Read more on Rappler.




Safety Standards

6. PH aviation to soar after passing audit?



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It took 5 years, at least 4 different industry regulatory chiefs, 4 transportation secretaries, and two Philippine presidents for the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to finally comply with the required global safety standards in overseeing airlines and other local aviation players. The favorable audit findings of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nations aviation body, marks the first step in the process toward the lifting of the Category 2 downgraded status of CAAP by the US Federal Aviation Authority and the Philippines' removal from the European Union blacklist. This means local airlines may soon mount new or additional flights to the US and Europe, both tourist-rich markets.


Read more on Rappler.




Abe-nomics

7. Japan PM eyes 2020 Olympics



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Like grandfather, like grandson. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to follow the footsteps of his grandfather, former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, who was instrumental in Tokyo's hosting of the 1964 Games in Tokyo. Abe called Tokyo's bid for the right to host the 2020 Olympics his "life-long dream" during the visit of the International Olympic Committee. Tokyo's plan features a "compact" and "dynamic" Olympics based on its financial wealth and track record in hosting international sports events. It also attempts to allay fears of damage from a big earthquake or radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Tokyo is up against other contenders, including Madrid and Istanbul.


Read more on Rappler.




'Angry Summer'

8. Australia's weather 'on steroids'



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Global warming will only make the heatwave, bushfires and damaging floods in Australia worse. This was according to Bureau of Meteorology which confirmed on March 4 that the 3 summer months ending February 28 were the hottest season ever recorded in Australia, leading the government's Climate Commission to label it the "Angry Summer" in a new report. The agency's chief commissioner Tim Flannery said the summer had been one of extremes, and was in some ways like an athlete who improves their baseline performance by taking steroids.


Read more on Rappler.




Real Hero?

9. 'Batman' turns over 'burglar' to police



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Just like the superhero in the movies, a man dressed as the mysterious caped crusader Batman has handed over a wanted man at a police station in Bradford, UK before disappearing into the night. Police said the costumed crime-fighter brought the suspect, now charged with stealing goods and other fraud offenses, in the early hours of February 25. Speculations abound on the identity of the 'Batman' after the West Yorkshire Police said they don't know who he is and if the incident was staged. A fancy dress store owner believes she sold the costume to the masked man.


Read more on BBC.




Media Landscape

10. BBC to sell Lonely Planet to cigarette billionaire?



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Lonely Planet, a decades-long travel guide book, is said to be on sale. In a report, Skift said current owner BBC is in the final stages of negotiation with reclusive Kentucky billionaire Brad Kelley for the sale of a majority stake in Lonely Planet. Kelly used to sell discount cigarette brands like USA Gold, Bull Durham, and Malibu, then flipped the company for almost $1 billion in 2001. He is now one of the largest land owners and conservationists in United States. BBC Worldwide replied to the report: "We have been exploring strategic options for Lonely Planet for some time now but no deal has been done and we are not going to comment on speculation about its future.”


Read more on Skift.