The wRap


Your World in 10 - May 3, 2013 Edition

Economy

1. PH wins 2nd investment grade, stocks soar



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The main index of the Philippine Stock Exchange soared to a new high on May 3 -- 7,200 -- after debt watcher Standard & Poors upgraded the credit rating of the Philippines to investment grade level. The benchmark also hit a new intraday peak after the Philippines won its first investment grade on March 27 from another international debt watcher Fitch Ratings. The PSEi is one of the world's best performing, with CNN counting the local index's over 20% year-on-year hike as among the Top 5 in the world.

Read the full story on Rappler




#PHVote

2. Pre-election shooting, harassment



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The number of violent incidents continues to rise more than a week before the May 13 mid-term elections. On May 2, Mayor Jose Ardales and his 23-year-old son George were shot outside their home in the town of Victoria in Northern Samar. The re-electionist Ardales is running under the National Unity Party against Liberal Party candidate Guillermo Jumamil. In Agusan del Sur, communist rebels flagged down a candidate for vice mayor. The bet was unharmed but alleged members of the New People's Army (NPA) burned down two motorcycles which were part of his convoy. The April 25 ambush in Lanao del Norte, which killed 13 people, increased the number of poll-related deaths by over 20%.

Read the story on the Samar shooting on Rappler

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Syrian conflict

3. Peace envoy set to quit



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UN leader Ban Ki-moon discussed deadlocked efforts to end the Syria conflict with the major powers amid mounting signs that peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is to quit. The permanent Security Council members have been urging Brahimi to stay, but diplomats say he is determined to leave. Brahimi wants to leave out of growing frustration with the stalled international efforts to end the two-year-old conflict. The Arab League decision to recognize the opposition Syrian National Coalition as the legitimate government of Syria was the final straw for the veteran UN troubleshooter.

Read the full story on Rappler




Bangladesh

4. Garment firms re-open, death toll passes 500



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The death toll in Bangladesh's worst industrial disaster rose to 500 on May 3, after 41 bodies were pulled from the wreckage of an eight-story building overnight. Bangladesh's garment firms have re-opened and rushed to complete delayed orders for their Western clients after an eight-day shutdown. Millions of staff returned to production lines around the capital Dhaka that make clothing for retailers such as Walmart and H&M, which have come under huge pressure to review their contracts in the accident-prone country. The building housing 5 garment factories collapsed near capital Dhaka on April 24, trapping around 3,000 people. At least 2,437 people have been rescued.


Read the full story on Rappler




Diplomacy

5. Myanmar leader plans landmark US visit



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Myanmar's leader plans a landmark visit to Washington this month, an AFP source said, as the United States eased visa restrictions in a sign of support despite a surge in anti-Muslim violence. President Thein Sein, who would be the first leader of the country to visit in half a century, is planning to be in the American capital around May 20 or May 21. The trip would include a summit with President Barack Obama at the White House. In another step towards thawing relations, Secretary of State John Kerry ended a 1996 ban on US visas to Myanmar nationals accused of hindering democracy during the country's decades of harsh military rule.

Read the full story on Rappler




ECONOMY

6. Filipinos 'on budget saving mode' - Nielsen



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Filipino consumers remain among the most optimistic about their finances in the world, but most of them prefer to save rather than spend, a survey showed. In its first-quarter 2013 Consumer Confidence Survey, Nielsen said the Philippines' consumer confidence index dipped one point to 118 from 117 in the 4th quarter of 2012, causing the country to slip a notch in the ranking of 58 countries. Some 83% of Filipino respondents said they made adjustments in spending to save on household expenses, an increase of 5 percentage points from the 4th quarter of 2012. They said they cut down on expenses on clothes, out-of-home entertainment, and other items and activities. As they reduced spending, Nielsen said 68% of respondents said saving spare cash was a priority, up 3 percentage points.

Read the full story on Rappler.



NATION

7. PH remains 3rd in Impunity Index



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The Philippines has remained 3rd for the fourth straight year in a global index for impunity, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an international press freedom organization. On Thursday, May 2, the CPJ released its 2013 Impunity Index, which lists countries where journalists are killed regularly and those murders have remained unsolved. The Philippines has remained high on the Impunity Index due to the Maguindanao Massacre in 2009. As the CPJ report explains, Philippine police "have yet to make headway in the prosecution of dozens of suspects in a politically motivated massacre in Maguindanao province that claimed the lives of more than 50 people, including 32 journalists and media workers, in 2009."

Read the full story on Rappler.



SCIENCE

8. Pinoy-made gadget used in Tubbataha assessment



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An automated rapid reef assessment system invented by the team of Dr. Maricor Soriano of the University of Philippines (UP) was one of the technologies used to make permanent visual records for the damage done at the Tubbataha reef. Known as the "Teardrop," the Filipino invention took permanent visual records of the damage caused by the The F/V Min Long Yu after the Chinese vessel ran aground in the UNESCO World Heritage site last April 8. A better and cheaper alternative to other available reef assessment technologies, Soriano explained that nobody has done this before on the cheap. The Teardrop system only costs around US$380 or P16,000.

Read the full story on Rappler.



WORLD

9. Short skirts a no-no in conservative India: ADB



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Women attending the Asian Development Bank's annual meeting in New Delhi have been advised to avoid wearing short skirts since they could lead to sexual harassment, according to a website notice Thursday, May 2. The Manila-based ADB, whose board of governors is meeting this weekend in the Indian capital to discuss the global economy, advised delegates from nearly 70 countries to dress modestly in the sexually conservative nation. Don't bare legs or wear short dresses as it "could hurt Indian sensibilities and may lead to sexual harassment", the advisory posted by the ADB told women delegates expected to attend the meeting. The ADB later removed its dress advice from the site, with a spokeswoman saying the agency had merely wanted to send a message to "dress sensibly in a businesslike fashion."

Read the full story on Rappler.



RUBBER DUCKIE

10. Giant rubber duckie sails into Hong Kong



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An inflatable rubber duck 6 storeys high sailed into Hong Kong harbor on Thursday, May 2, to the cheers of hundreds of people who gathered to watch the classic bathtime-inspired artistic creation. The bright yellow 16.5-meter-tall (54-feet) Rubber Duck, conceived by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, dwarfed other craft as it was towed by a tugboat a fraction of its size past the city's iconic skyline to a mooring. Since 2007 the art installation has travelled to 13 different cities in nine countries ranging from Brazil to Australia in its journey around the world.

Read the full story on Rappler.