The wRap


Your World in 10 - May 1, 2012 Edition

Tough Talk

1. PH, US talk maritime defense & China



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The Philippines and US held high-level diplomatic talks in Washington, DC on Monday. The US says it would help build Philippine's maritime forces and will add a ship to its forces. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says her country's committed to its mutual defense treaty with the Philippines but reiterated support for a diplomatic solution to the competing claims - and renewed tensions - between the Philippines and China over a shoal in the South China Sea. She says the US will not take sides in this conflict.

Read more on Rappler.




Walk the Talk

2. China says PH not walking its talk



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For nearly a month, the Philippines and China have fought a public and diplomatic campaign for control of Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. Two weeks ago, the Philippines accused China of double-talk after both agreed to relieve tension by pulling their warships from the area. Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said China didn't pull out their ships after saying it would. On Monday, it's China's turn to say Philippine President Benigno Aquino III is not walking the talk.

Read more on Rappler.




Clashing on Freedom

3. US, China clash on dissident



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US President Barack Obama evaded direct mention of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng on Monday, although he mentioned China's human rights issue "which comes up every time we meet with China." Blind lawyer Chen escaped house arrest Friday and is believed to be hiding in the US embassy in Beijing. He was convicted in 2006 after he campaigned against officials who forced couples to have late-term abortions and sterilizations. China's censors are blocking news about his daring escape on the country's version of Twitter, Sina Weibo. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is departing for China Tuesday morning Manila time to ease growing tension.

Read more on Rappler.




Terrorism

4. New threats 1 year after bin Laden's death



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Officials said Monday they were on high alert for possible terror attacks for the 1 year anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death. This time, a metal-less bomb may be hidden inside the terrorist's abdominal cavity. US and European authorities have been warning that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), its Yemeni affiliate, has been designing body bombs with no metal parts which may be surgically implanted. Al-Qaeda expert Rohan Gunaratna tells Rappler that although Al-Qaeda has been degraded, it is quickly evolving and relying on affiliates like AQAP and regional conflicts to spread its virulent ideology. He warns the US pullout from Afghanistan next year may strengthen Al-Qaeda's resurgence by giving it a familiar safe haven.

Read more on Rappler and ABC News.




Dramatic climbdown

5. Suu Kyi ends standoff, takes oath



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Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi resolved a brewing conflict after she and her party agreed Monday to take a controversial oath and join Parliament on Wednesday, ending a two-week standoff. She and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won 43 of 45 Parliament seats in history elections April 1. After more than 2 decades in prison, Suu Kyi refused to say the oath which has lawmakers vowing to "safeguard" the army-created constitution. Suu Kyi pledged amendments to the document which has given inordinate power to Myanmar's military. This prevented Suu Kyi from attending Monday's meeting between UN Sec Gen Ban Ki-Moon, who visited Myanmar to encourage democratization and reform.

Read more on Rappler.




Coming out

6. PH's "coming out party" as ADB host begins annual meet Wed



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The Philippines is trumpetting its economic gains as the host of this year's annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank in Manila. Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima told Rappler that his country is poised for sustained economic growth after fundamental reforms for good governance were set in place last year. He fielded criticism and said anti-corruption efforts are bearing fruit for an administration which has the support of the people. The Philippine stock market has performed well this year, breaking psychological barriers and emerging on several days as Asia's best performer. Security is tight ahead of Wednesday's opening.

Read more on Rappler.




Technology

7. Microsoft buys e-books, Nook for $300M



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Barnes & Noble stocks skyrocketed 95% Monday before the markets even opened on news that Microsoft bought a 17.6% stake in its e-book business and its reader, Nook, for $300 million. The bookseller announced January that it would spin off its e-book business. This move ends a long patent dispute between the two companies and unites them against Amazon's Kindle and Apple's iPad. Part of the deal includes a new Nook application in Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system.

Read more on Rappler.




Spotlight

8. It's More Fun in the Philippines



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The Philippines released a long-awaited television ad campaign that aims to continue and expand the tourism campaign it began in January on social media in January. The ad ends with a call for viewers to own it and continue its social media evolution. It first aired Monday on CNN's Eye on the Philippines which runs this week. On Tuesday morning, CNN tackled Philippine call centers, now the largest globally and a controversial bill aimed at making family planning and birth control available to the country's 100 million people. CNN said more than 560,000 abortions happen every year in the country. The RH bill has long languished because of strong opposition from the Catholic church. The Philippines is Asia's largest Catholic nation.
Read more and watch the ad on Rappler and Eye on the Philippines on CNN.



Sex & God

9. Miriam Quiambao on homosexuality



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Former beauty queen Miriam Quiambao apologized to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community online for remarks which drew on her religious beliefs and the Bible characterizing gay people as "mistakes." It started with a guest spot on television Saturday night when this exchange happened about a gay man on the panel. Quiambao: “God made us all for a purpose. And I don’t understand why God made him (Benedito) that way. I feel, though, that in my knowledge of God, God never makes mistakes and He’s not a liar. So however He made him, that’s who he really is.However, because God has allowed this to happen in his life, perhaps there is a purpose. And at the end of the day, he will be the one to face God… we’re not in a position to judge because we’re all sinners, we’ve all fallen, and I feel that God will be the one to judge him in the end. I’m just hoping that whatever purpose God put him there, he’ll be able to stand face to face with God in peace." Panelist: "Can you just enlighten me, Miriam, when you said that - is Bemz (referring to gay panelist) a mistake?" Quiambao: "God is sovereign. And I'm not saying that I am right or wrong in what I am saying, but I'm basing my beliefs on what is said in the Bible." The conversation continued on Twitter over the weekend, with reactions from secularist group Filipino Freethinkers (@ffreethinkers) and Broadway star Lea Salonga.


Read more on Rappler.




Video wRap

10. Rappler Newscast



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Get the day's news in 10 to 15 minutes. Watch Rappler's Newscast which begins daily Mondays-Fridays this week. Here's Monday's wRap, leading with the discovery of at least $10 million in hidden bank accounts of Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, an analysis of Al-Qaeda one year after bin Laden's death, results of a survey on work-related injuries, Palarong Pambansa and a royal anniversary.

Read and watch on Rappler.