The wRap


Your World in 10 - November 13, 2012

Ethics case

1. What apology? Sotto shrugs off Kennedy plagiarism rebuke



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Senator Tito Sotto and his ally Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile laughed off renewed plagiarism complaints from bloggers, including the ethics case academics plan to file on November 13 for his speeches against the Reproductive Health bill. Sotto shrugged off even the demand for apology and rebuke from the daughter of former US Senator Robert F Kennedy. According to Kerry Kennedy, Sotto’s translation of her father’s speech is a clear case of plagiarism. Sotto is invoking parliamentary immunity.


Watch Rappler's report here.




Immunity

2. Vessel owner in Subic dumping issue sees no need for VFA



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Mateo Mayuga, an ex-Philippine Navy chief and now CEO of the waste disposal vessel that allegedly dumped wastes into Subic Bay, faced the media on November 12 and denied that Glenn Defense Marine Asia will invoke a treaty to avoid prosecution. Glenn Defense is a 3rd party contractor of US Navy ships that docked in Subic for naval exercises that are part of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the United States and the Philippines. Mayuga stressed the wastes were pre-treated based on international standards before these were released to the ocean. He said he welcomed the investigation by various government bodies, including that of the Senate and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), which both claim the vessel dumped toxic waste.


Read and watch the report on Rappler.




Legislation

3. No more excuses for Freedom of Information bill--supporters



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They have had enough of the excuses and delaying tactics from those who "fear transparency and accountability." On the eve of a crucial House of Representatives committee hearing on the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, groups supporting the measure made one more push. In a street march on November 12, various groups urged President Benigno Aquino III to prioritize the FOI bill, even as the President earlier said the measure, which requires the government to publicly disclose documents on request or on demand, is not a priority. The different groups want the bill to be approved on second and third reading in both chambers of Congress before the legislative session adjourns on December 22. Otherwise, the bill will not go through the bicameral conference committee as early as January, when session resumes.


Read more on Rappler.




Military and relationships

4. Who is Mrs. Petraeus, the betrayed wife of ex-CIA chief



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The extramarital affair that ended the CIA career of David Petraeus has put the spotlight on the "other woman," Petraeus’s biographer Paula Broadwell. But what about the main woman, the wife of the now publicly shamed general? In a profile story, the Daily Beast described Hollister "Holly" Knowlton-Petraeus as product of a heritage steeped in military service, making the pairing a natural fit. “I admired his intelligence and thought he was great," she said about their early romance, which started in a blind date. She became a mother of two and was recognized as a financial warrior for military wives. She joins other women in high-profile and top-level cheating scandals and now have a difficult decision to make about her 38-year marriage to one of US Army's most decorated men.


Read the profile on Holly Petreus on the Daily Beast.




Crisis

5. Excessive management layers undermined BBC's journalism



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Journalists in the British media giant BBC's 6,000-strong news operation complain that excessive layers of management have led to confused decision-making. On November 12, the findings of an internal investigation showed that, as two top news executives stood aside, "basic" journalistic failures in a news report in which it wrongly accused a senior politician of child abuse has resulted in the deepening crisis at the world's largest publicly funded broadcaster. The investigation found there had been a failure to complete "basic journalistic checks" since journalists on that flagship Newsnight program had failed to show the accuser a photograph of the politician.


Read more on Rappler.




Corporate taxes

6. Starbucks, Google, Amazon grilled over UK tax avoidance



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Following Reuters 4-month investigation that revealed that coffee giant Starbucks reportedly paid just £8.6 million in corporate tax in the UK over 14 years, executives from some of the world's most-recognized firms were grilled by British lawmakers on the issue of tax avoidance. During the Public Accounts Committee hearing on November 12, Starbucks confirmed it has not paid any corporation taxes in Britain for the past 3 years owing to fees paid to its businesses in the Netherlands and Switzerland, including royalties for brand usage. Amazon and Google confirmed that the companies both use favorable tax jurisdictions -- Luxembourg and Ireland respectively -- due to their low taxation levels. Committee chair Margaret Hodge told them, "We're not accusing you of being illegal, we're accusing you of being immoral.”


Read more on Rappler and BBC.
Follow the live blog on The Guardian




Climate change

7. What if US becomes world's top oil producer by 2020?



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The US can shed its long-standing dependence on oil from Saudi Arabia and become the world's biggest oil producer 2020, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said November 12. The world's foremost authority in energy based this on the result of new technology allowing the exploitation of new sources of unconventional fossil fuels--oil and gas, including shale gas and shale oil--would be a redrawing of the international energy map. In the next decade, the US could be self-sufficient in all forms of energy and 90% of Middle Eastern oil could be headed for China, IEA estimates. This will have huge implications for geopolitics and for climate change as opting for cheaper fossil fuels in place of environmentally sustainable sources of energy such as wind and sun will undermine hopes of cutting greenhouse gas emissions.


Read more on Rappler and BBC.




Debt crisis

8. Further delays in Greek debt plans sparks IMF ire



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Eurozone finance ministers agreed to meet again November 20 to clear the way for a long-delayed Greek aid payment, but a proposal to change its debt reduction deadline sparked the ire of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Greek officials stressed the beleaguered nation, which would go broke by Friday, November 16, has made progress on its commitments to reduce debt and the public deficit, but ministers still had work to do before finalizing the details and approving the funding of some 31 billion euros ($39 billion) debts due that day. IMF chief Christine Lagarde said she believed the deadline should remain and that it is "critical that the Greek debt be sustainable."


Read more on Rappler.




Social media

9. Content, community-building lessons behind Youtube's budget cuts



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Online video sharing giant YouTube announced that will maintain funding for only 30% to 40% of its content partners, cutting a substantial number of its partnered shows from a second funding infusion in the next few weeks. This means only the content channel partners--ranging from celebrities to content-makers from various fields--who have not only been creating shareable content but also understood the audience through community building engagements will receive between US$1 million and $5 million to further create a couple hours of programming a week. Once that money was recouped through ad dollars, Google and the content creators would split advertising revenues,” CNET wrote.


Read more on Rappler.




Financial hub

10. London no longer world's finance capital by 2015?



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London stands to lose its title as leading global center for high finance by 2015 as rival hubs such as New York and Hong Kong will push beleaguered city into third place, a study by Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) forecasted. Job cuts and falling bonuses have hit the London as the UK economy struggled amid sustained and subdued global growth, particularly for its main export partners: the US and Europe. The explosion of jobs in the next 3 years in the Far East, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, will further dampen London's bankers, whom CEBR predicts will have combined bonus pools likely slipping to £4.4 billion this year, down from £6.75 billion for 2011. The number of people employed in the financial sector in London, excluding most accountants and lawyers, has sunk below 250,000 this year. At its peak, London employed more than 350,000 people before the financial crisis struck.


Read more on The Guardian.