The wRap


Your World in 10 - November 26, 2012 Edition

Sin taxes

1. Advocates want to open sin tax hearings to the public



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Congress should open the bicameral conference committee meetings on sin taxes to the public, advocates said. According to them, they have information the bicameral committee will be meeting for the first time on Friday, November 30 – after the Senate and the House assign members who will sit in the committee. Anthony Leachon, health department consultant on non-communicable diseases, said, “We need to make it open so we will prevent killer insertions during the bicam, knowing that the bicam is shrouded in secrecy.” Perhaps the most lobbied legislation, the sin tax bill has pitted health champions against those protecting the tobacco and alcohol industries. The measure covering sin products hurdled the Senate in November 20 by a vote of 15-2 and is expected to raise revenues of P39.5 billion for government in the first year, while the House version will bring in only P30 billion. The sin tax measure is among the priority measures of the President who is eyeing additional revenues from sin taxes to fund his universal health care program.

Read the full story on Rappler.




Religion

2. Tagle is officially named cardinal



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55-year-old Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, was officially named cardinal Saturday evening, November 24. Pope Benedict XVI, made him a cardinal along with 5 other non-Europeans in hour-long rites at the Vatican. Now Prince of the Cathoic Church, Tagle will serve as counselor to his mentor, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. In the event of the Pope’s death or resignation, Tagle will be among 120 cardinals who can vote for a successor. In October, after Benedict XVI named him cardinal, Tagle said he was “terrified” by the magnitude of his task as cardinal. Tagle cried on the day he officially became cardinal. Described by foreign journalists as a potential papal contender himself, he is expected to wield tremendous influence among the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

Read the full story on Rappler.




Ampatuan massacre

3. Police arrest backhoe operator in Ampatuan massacre



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The alleged operator of a backhoe used to dig the mass graves of 58 people in the country’s worst political massacre was arrested Saturday, November 24. Bong Andal, a former employee of the Ampatuans, did not resist when he was detained in the town of Midsayap, according to the police. The arrest came a day after the 3rd anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre. The Ampatuan clan is accused of carrying out the massacre to stop supporters of rival Esmael Mangudadatu from filing his certificate of candidacy. Among the 58 who were killed were Mangudadatu’s wife and sister, as well as journalists and media workers. At least one member of the Ampatuan clan is said to have participated in the killings, also ordering the burial of the victims in pits. Andal was the 106th suspect to be arrested, with 91 others still at large.

Read the full story on Rappler.




Business

4. Billions of pesos lost to oil smuggling



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Billions of pesos in government revenues are lost each year from smuggled petroleum products. The Petroleum Institute of the Philippines, which groups industry players like Petron, Chevron, and Total, among others, estimates that about a third of diesel products being sold in the market are smuggled. In 2012 alone, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum vice president for communications Roberto Kanapi said lost revenues could go beyond the P20 billion-P30 billion previously estimated. Computations peg government revenue losses at around P6 per liter, he added. Industry players have requested the Bureau of Internal Revenue to do advanced collection of VAT on fuel imports in free trade and economic zones like Subic and Cagayan de Oro. BIR collections have however been suspended pending decision on a court case that opposed the advanced VAT collections.

Read the full story on Rappler.




Transportation

5. UP Monorail test service to start December



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The iconic yellow jeepneys that go round the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman campus known as “UP ikot” may soon have to coexist with an electric monorail system. A 465-meter monorail test track 6.1 meters high has already been constructed from CP Garcia Avenue to Jacinto Street along the College of Fine Arts. Two monorail cars arrived at the site on Sunday, November 25. Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo said the monorail system or the Automated Guideway Transite System, a locally developed transportation system, could soon be the “future of mass transport systems made by Filipinos.” A joint project between the Department of Science and Technology and UP Diliman, the test track is expected to become operational this December.

Read the full story on Rappler.




Middle East

6. Arafat exhumed Tuesday to quell poison queries



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Was Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat poisoned or not? One of the greatest political mysteries in the Middle East could come closer to being solved when his remains are exhumed on Tuesday, November 27. Many Palestinians believe their first democratically elected president was poisoned by Israel, a theory reinforced when Al-Jazeera reported in July Swiss finding, which showed high quantities of polonium on his personal effects. Polonium is a radioactive substance that dissipates faster than other radioactive substances. It was also what killed Russian ex-spy and Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko in 2006. “It is very painful. It is a shock, and it is not easy for myself or my daughter,” Suha, Arafat’s widow was quoted by AFP as saying. “But we must do it to turn the page on the great secrecy surrounding his death. If there was a crime, it must be solved.” Israel has dismissed the probe as misguided. Arafat died in 2004 at the age of 75.

Read the full story on Rappler.

More details are available on The Huffington Post.




China

7. China lands jet fighter on carrier for the first time



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The Chinese defense ministry announced on Sunday, November 25, a China-made J-15 fighter jet landed on its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning. It marked the first time that China successfully landed a fighter jet on its new aircraft carrier, which entered into service in September. The successful landing of a fighter jet on the Liaoning signalled Beijing’s ability to flex its military muscle in territorial disputes in both the East China Sea and the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea). The Liaoning is a former Soviet carrier formerly known as the Varyag, which was refurbished at the northeastern port of Dalian in China. Originally constructed in the 1980s for the Soviet Navy, the Varyag was never completed, the BBC said. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the Varyag remained in Ukraine until it was bought by a Chinese company and shipped to China in 2001. The vessel has had extensive sea trials.

Read the full story on Rappler.

Additional details are on BBC News.




Entertainment

8. JLo in Manila



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Sensational Jennifer Lopez arrived in Manila Sunday evening, November 25, for a one-night-only concert at the Mall of Asia Arena. She touched down at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at about 7:30 pm aboard a chartered flight. Her concert is part of her “Dance Again” world tour, which began in Panama City last June. Mother of twin 4-year-olds with ex-husband Marc Anthony, the 43-year-old JLo does her Manila gig on Monday night, November 26, after her stop in Shanghai. Her next destination will be Hong Kong.

Read the full story on Rappler.

A related story on JLo is also on Rappler.




Sports

9. Bo Perasol is new Blue Eagles head coach



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Former PBA coach Bo Perasol is the new head coach of the Ateneo Blue Eagles. He takes over the post vacated by Norman Black who steered the Blue Eagles through a “5-peat” or 5-straight-title victory in the UAAP. Black was only the second coach in UAAP history to win 5 straight titles. The announcement of Perasol as head coach was made by Ateneo University president Jett Villarin in a memo released Monday, November 26. Perasol takes over on December 1. Villarin said he had been meeting with businessman Manuel V Pangilinan to forge a “more open and constructive partnership.” In September, Pangilinan, a generous supporter of the university, announced he would be cutting ties with Ateneo over the latter’s critical position on mining. Pangilinan heads Philex Mining Corp. The appointment of former Powerade coach Perasol signals a reconciliation between Pangilinan and his alma mater. It was Pangilinan who earlier hired Perasol to replace Black.

Read the full story on Rappler.

A related story is on Rappler.




Technology

10. Gangnam Style is most viewed YouTube video



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It’s YouTube’s most-watched video of all time: “Gangnam Style” by 34-year-old South Korean pop singer Psy. The dance track video, which takes a hit at Gangnam, a rich community in Seoul, has recorded over 805 million views since its posting in July. Best video winner in the 2012 MTV Europe Music Awards, “Gangnam Style” features Psy dancing as if he were trotting on a horse and spinning a lasso. The dance has been performed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Filipino prison inmates. The Gangnam video has surpassed Justin Bieber’s “Baby” which recorded 803 million views in two years.

View the video on Rappler’s social media wRap.

Read the full story on BBC News.