The wRap


Your World in 10 - September 24, 2012 Edition

PH-China relations

1. Northrail loan successfully renegotiated with China



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The Philippines and China have successfully renegotiated the remaining US$184-million loan for the Northrail project. Instead of settling the entire amount due this 2012, the finance department is instead paying the Export-Import Bank of China 4 equal tranches of $46 million starting September this year. After meeting with China Eximbank officials in June to renegotiate payment terms, a team from the finance department was able to lengthen the payment period of a portion of the $500-million loan by two more years, or up to 2014. The Northrail project is crucial in the planned transfer of the main international airport in Manila to Clark in Central Luzon.

Read the full story on Rappler.




World

2. 9 climbers killed in Nepal avalanche



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At least 9 people are dead and several others remain missing after an avalanche hit Mount Manaslu in Nepal. Manaslu, the 8th highest mountain in the world, is also considered one of the most dangerous, with several deaths reported in recent years. The bodies of a German and a Nepalese guide, along with a Spanish national, have been sighted by rescue pilots. BBC News reported that at least 5 climbers – two of them French nationals – survived and have been rescued and flown to hospitals. The New York Times reported 10 survivors and 6 missing. The climbers were caught by the avalanche at the height of 7,000 meters, as they were headed toward the summit. Manaslu is 8,156 meters high. Officials are still trying to determine how many people took part in the climb.

Read the full story on BBCNews.

Additional details are available from the New York Times.




Islam

3. US hits prize offer for anti-Islam filmmaker



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The US denounced a US$100,000 prize offered by a Pakistani cabinet minister for the killing of the creator of an anti-Islam film, “Innocence of Muslims” released on YouTube earlier this September. Pakistan’s Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour on Saturday, September 22, offered the bounty and invited the Taliban and al-Qaeda to be part of the “noble deed.” Pakistan however distanced itself from Bilour’s comments, saying it is not part of government policy. US President Barack Obama and State Secretary Hillary Clinton have denounced the video as “offensive, disgusting, and reprehensible.” A State Department official however said it was no justification for violence.

Read the full story on Rappler.

A related story is available on BBCNews.




US Politics

4. Hillary for president again?



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Not completely impossible -- that is, a run for the presidency by Hillary Clinton in 2016. Husband Bill Clinton told CBS that while he has no idea what she will decide after more than a decade of public service, she is tired. “She wants to take some time off, kind of regroup, write a book,” the former president said. “I think we ought to give her a chance to organize her life and decide what she wants to do,” he said when asked whether his wife would consider the presidency if Barack Obama is re-elected in November. Hillary Clinton was first lady for 8 years, senator for another 8 years, before becoming secretary of state. She was defeated for the Democratic nomination by Obama in 2008 and had said she will no longer seek to become her country's first female president.

Read the full story on Rappler.




Entertainment

5. Top Emmy Awards go to ‘Homeland’ and ‘Modern Family’



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ABC’s “Modern Family,” a series that follows the lives of the dysfunctional but lovable Prichett family won 4 Emmys, including Outstanding Comedy series, on Monday morning, September 24, Manila time. The Outstanding Drama Series award went to “Homeland,” which unseated “Mad Men,” a four-straight-year Emmy winner. Homeland lead actors Damian Lewis and Claire Danes won awards for best actor and best actress in a drama series, respectively. It is about the Iraq war and its effects. “Modern Family” will begin its 4th season in the US on September 26, while “Homeland” will start its 2nd season on October 30.

Read the full story on Rappler.




Media

6. State Dept hits CNN for using US envoy’s journal



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The State Department criticized CNN’s handling of a personal journal belonging to US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, saying it was “disgusting.” On Saturday, CNN.com explained that it found the journal of Stevens – killed in an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi – “on the floor of the largely unsecured consulate compound.” The network said the personal journal was used only for “tips” later corroborated by sources and that it was returned to Stevens’ family through an Italian diplomat. State Department Spokesman Philippe Reines Reines said CNN “completely ignored the wishes of the family” when it reported on the journal’s contents. CNN countered there were issues that required full reporting and that “the public had a right to know…about the warnings of a terror threat…which are now raising questions about why the State Department didn’t do more to protect Ambassador Stevens and other US personnel.”

Read the full story on The Huffington Post.

The Wallstreet Journal has other details.

CNN’s version of the story is available here.




Business

7. JAZA: Credibility key to growth



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Businessman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, leader of the country’s oldest conglomerate Ayala Corp, said that credibility is key to sustainable growth. President Benigno Aquino III’s good governance campaign has helped regain credibility for the country, a major factor for investors deciding where to put their money. “We are one of the 3 largest growth countries in the world – there’s China and Indonesia, which is slightly ahead of us…I think we’ve come a long way in garnering people’s attention…The governance side has given us credibility. Credibility is important especially for long-term investments, not just the short ones,” Zobel said in an interview on #TalkThursday. He acknowledged that government’s partnership with the private sector is also needed for capital-intensive infrastructure projects. The economy has grown, with GDP hitting 6.3% in the 1st quarter, the 2nd highest in Asia, due in part to increased government spending.

Read the full story on Rappler.




Social Good Summit

8. The power of social media



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“The tweet is mightier than the sword,” Citizen advocate Jane Uymatiao pointed out in her presentation during the Social Good Summit (SGS) on Saturday, September 22. Speaking before a select group of 50 in the morning panel, Pipol Power Institute executive director Niña Terol Zialcita also pointed out that netizens have become “super citizens” online, able to help disaster-stricken countrymen or criticize politicians who are credit-grabbers. As such, netizens should be protected by a Magna Carta that will protect their rights and provide for self-regulation. In the second panel, Communications Undersecretary Manolo Quezon III said netizens can lobby for amendments to the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. For his part, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez pointed out in the afternoon session that the power of social media lies in its ability to “validate” or “invalidate personal conviction.” The SGS was organized by Rappler and TweetUpMNL.

Read the full story on Rappler.

A Rappler story on Communications Undersecretary Manolo Quezon’s take on the Cybercrime Law is available here.

Another story on social media’s ‘real power’ as stressed by Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez is here.

A related story about journalists’ take on social media is also on Rappler.




Asian Royalty

9. Pomp and pageantry in Brunei royal wedding



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Brunei’s Princess Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah, the daughter of one of the world’s wealthiest men, along with her husband Pengiran Haji Muhammad Ruzaini, were presented to the royal court in a lavish ceremony on Sunday, September 23. The two were legally wed on Thursday, September 19, after they signed a marriage contract, but the colorful, 20-minute ceremony marked the highlight of over a week of festivities in oil-rich Brunei. The 32-year-old bride and her 29-year-old groom were seated in a hall in front of 3,000 guests that included President Benigno Aquino III, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. Hafizah wore a crystal-beaded beige and silver gown, while Ruzaini wore beige and a gold brocade. It is the first time that one of Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah’s children has married since 2007.

Read the full story on Rappler.




University Basketball

10. NU enters UAAP Final Four



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It was a crucial match in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) on Sunday, September 23, that saw National University (NU) gaining entry to the Final Four. Winning 84-81 in overtime over the FEU Tamaraws, the Bulldogs were pulled to victory by Bobby Ray Parks, the league’s reigning Most Valuable Player. Parks fired a 3-point shot with a little over 36 seconds remaining, before sinking two more safety free throws to clinch the win. This marked NU’s entry into the playoffs for the first time in 11 years. The Bulldogs’ victory gave them a 9-5 scorecard, tied with FEU and De La Salle University who will fight it out for the last Final Four spot on Wednesday, September 26. NU is assured of being in the Final Four on account of a superior scoring quotient.

Read the full story on Rappler.