The wRap


Your World in 10 - October 11, 2012 Edition

'Ralph Morris Bill'

1. Cutting down the sin tax



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It's a dramatic display of how politics and economics meet and merge. Anti-tobacco advocates call the watered down Senate sin tax downgrade the "Ralph Morris" bill - Ralph Recto plus Philip Morris. The much diluted sin tax bill of a Senate panel led by Ralph Rcto was released on October 10 and will raise only P15 billion instead of the original P60 billion. Observers say it resembles an earlier proposal of the country's biggest tobacco player, multinational Philip Morris, which is now the business partner of Fortune Tobacco, once a monopoly controlled by the Philippines' second richest, Lucio Tan. The bill that will raise taxes on cigarettes and alcohol is the only revenue measure the Aquino government prioritized in the 15th Congress and is meant to fund universal healthcare and tobacco farmers' needs.


Read more on Rappler.




Drugs

2. Lance Armstrong at center of doping ring, officials say



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Authorities at the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said they have "overwhelming" evidence that Lance Armstrong was involved in the biggest doping conspiracy in sports history to win the Tour de France seven times. The stories seem almost unbelievable - with Armstrong and two other riders checking into a hotel room to have their blood extracted into plastic bags in 2000 one month before a competition. A day before, they had the blood reinfused with oxygen pumped back into their bodies. It was the second Tour de France Armstrong would win and would continue the practice for five more!


Read more on Rappler and the New York Times.




Target

3. Young blogger survives Taliban attack



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14 year old blogger Malala Yousafzai was outspoken about her views. She wrote under a pen name about what happened to her world when the Taliban entered her town and campaigned for women's rights. The Taliban terrorized residents with "floggings, public executions, closing and sometimes destroying music stores, theaters and girls' schools." On Tuesday, the Taliban followed Yousafzai onto a bus and shot her to retaliate, sparking international anger. Surgeons in Pakistan removed the bullet, but the next 10 days will be critical for her recovery.


Read more about her condition on the Daily Beast and the international reaction on Rappler.




MILF Deal

4. Give peace a chance



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Marvic Leonen, the head of the government peace panel with the MILF, was optimistic about coming to an agreement when he took the post a year and a half ago. On Sunday, the government announced a Structural Framework that effectively reframes the debate and provides a way to discuss contentious issues while avoiding the mistakes of past agreements. It aims to create a new region called the Bangsamoro, a word that has emotional significance for the Muslims who have fought to reclaim their identify for more than 400 years. Despite that, this is still an agreement to agree, and there's a long road ahead to peace. Still, the ball is now where it should be - in the lawmakers' and the people's court.


Read more on Rappler.

Read the full text of President Noynoy Aquino's speech: Agreement paves way for enduring peace in Mindanao

Read the full text of the Framework Agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on the establishment of the new autonomous political entity, Bangsamoro, that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

For related stories, read:




Warning

5. On 10th anniversary of attacks: a new Bali threat?



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Indonesian authorities raised the country's security threat warning to its highest level after terrorist movements that show they may target high-profile visitors and dignitaries going to Bali on Friday for the 10th anniversary of the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people. Among those attending are Australian Prime MInister Julia Gillard, former Australian Prime Minister John Howard and families of the bombing victims. 88 of those who died were Australians.


Read more on the Wall Street Journal.




Inside Story

6. Kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf



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In June 2008, Ces Drilon and her two cameramen, Jimmy Encarnacion and Angelo Valderrama, were kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf on the island of Jolo. The man behind it was Abu Sayyaf's most senior leader, Radullan Sahiron. On Friday, October 12, the 10th anniversary of the Bali bombings, Rappler's CEO Maria Ressa launches her latest book, "10 Days, 10 Years: FROM BIN LADEN TO FACEBOOK." She takes us behind the scenes of the 10 days of negotiations and uses social network analysis to look at how terrorism spread from Afghanistan to the Philippines in the past 10 years. Introducing some of Drilon's kidnappers as well as one of the founders of the Abu Sayyaf, Ressa looks at their social networks and unravels the ties that bind.


Read an excerpt and find details of the Friday launch here—all on Rappler.




Sponsor

7. MVP & UP



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Businessman Manuel Pangilinan attends the 50th annniversary of the University of the Philippines' fraternity Alpha Sigma on October 10. Named an "honorary brod," Pangilinan pledges at least P5 million to the University of the Philippines. This comes after Pangilinan pulled out his longtime support for his alma mater, Ateneo de Manila University on Friday, September 21 because of contentious issues like the Reproductive Health bill and the university stance on mining. He has heavily funded Ateneo's endeavors, including the men's basketball team, which won its 4th straight title in 2011. Will MVP be giving his money to UP?


Read more on Rappler.




GMA

8. Arroyo doctors summoned by Sandiganbayan



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The Sandiganbayan defers a decision on former President Gloria Arroyo's hospital arrest to next week on October 18. It also summoned her doctors to testify about her state of health. The prosecution said there is no more reason for Mrs. Arroyo to stay in the hospital, saying her plan to run for re-election shows she must be healthy. Mrs. Arroyo's lawyers asks the government not to be vindictive.


Read more on Rappler.




Syria

9. Syrian conflict escalates on 2 fronts



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Conflict grows on two fronts in Syria. Turkey forces down a Syrian passenger plane because it's suspected of delivering firearms from Moscow to the regime. At the same time, the United States says it posted a team of military personnel in Jordan on its border with Syria. The 19 month civil war between rebels and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has long threatened to spiral out of control.


Read more on the Wall Street Journal.




Threat

10. Security cut before Libya attack



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It's unclear now whether the anti-Muslim film had anything to do with the attack on the US consulate in Libya, which killed four Americans, including US Ambassador Christopher Stevens. It seems it depends whom you ask in the US government. On Wednesday, a hearing by US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform turned partisan after a security officer said his request for additional security was turned down by the State Department.


Read more on the New York Times.