Fiscal Cliff Swing
Moving to avert the fiscal cliff, US President Obama goes on a public relations campaign among lawmakers and the American public. When House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner says it’s possible to avert the crisis, it gives the stock market a lift – reversing earlier negative sentiment. It’s an example of the mood swings the markets and the public are vulnerable to as the US government works to beat the clock on the January deadline.
A surprise announcement Wednesday boosts the Philippine Stock Exchange to its 31st record high this year. At 7.1% GDP, the Philippines is the best performing economy in Southeast Asia and the second best in Asia for the third quarter. The sentiment ripples through the economy, strengthening the peso. Core to the confidence the Philippines is riding now is the Aquino government’s anti-corruption effort. On Wednesday, the government declares December 9 anti-corruption day.
Read more on the market and currency, details about the 3rd quarter GDP and anti-corruption day—all on Rappler.
Egypt's top court suspended its sessions, announcing a strike to protest Mohamed Morsi's expanded powers. In response on Wednesday, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood called for a rally to support the Egyptian president. A day earlier, protesters poured into the streets across the country to denounce a move they claimed was dictatorial. It was the largest protest since Morsi was elected in June. The Muslim Brotherhood planned a rally to coincide with Tuesday's opposition protest but cancelled it at the last moment. They plan to harness other Islamist groups in a rally on Saturday. Analysts warn this uncertainty will impact Egypt's economy.
Read more on Rappler and for possible effects on the economy on the Wall Street Journal.
Two car bombs exploded in a suburban residential area of Damascus Wednesday, killing at least 45 people and injuring 120, Syrian media reported. Syrian state television blamed the attack on "terrorists." Analysts say the twin attacks bore the hallmarks of al-Qaeda affiliated groups - twin bombs, one designed to explode first and draw people out followed by a second explosion. They happened in a Damascus neighborhood mainly Druze and Christian - groups which have not really joined the rebels.
Read more on the New York Times.
The Philippines will no longer stamp its visas on Chinese passports with a map of disputed areas in the South China Sea also called West Philippine Seas. The move protests the inclusion of the 9-dash line map in the passport which covers areas claimed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines. DFA says the Philippines will stamp the visas on a separate visa application form. Senator Miriam Santiago wants Chinese citizens carrying the passports barred from entering the Philippines.
Sea levels are rising at an average 3.2 millimeters per year. At this rate, the sea will rise around a full meter by the end of the century. The United Nation's climate panel says massive number of people living in sea-level areas will lose homes, land and livelihood resulting in millions of climate refugees. Analysts add, this could lead to resource wars and conflicts.
Read more on Rappler.
Senators Ralph Recto and Ferdinand Marcos Jr will sit on the bicameral conference committee on the sin tax bill despite calls from sin tax bill advocates for them to inhibit. Health secretary Enrique Ona and 35 medical organizations sign a manifesto earlier urged the two senators to inhibit from the meetings. The groups say the two senators “compromised the welfare of the Filipino people.” UP College of Medicine Dr. Antonio Dans refers to newspaper articles that claim senator Ralph Recto may have had secret meetings with the tobacco industry. He says their group actually have video footage of Senator Bongbong Marcos talking with lawyers of Philip Morris during his interpolation of the sin tax bill at the senate floor.
Recto says advocates of the sin tax reform bill have nothing to fear.
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra easily survives a no-confidence vote engineered by her opponents in parliament. Thailand's first female premier, Yingluck won 308 of the 467 votes, securing support even from outside her coalition. The opposition accuses her of failing to crack down on corruption and of being the puppet of her brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra. Thaksin was ousted by royalist generals in a coup in 2006. He resides abroad to avoid a jail sentence for corruption charges. Thaksin says the charges were politically motivated.
Journalists need to go beyond relaying facts. That’s one of the coping mechanisms recommended by Columbia Journalism’s study released Wednesday on the future of news. Written by C.W. Anderson, Emily Bell and Clay Shirky, it outlines today’s trends and how some news groups are dealing with them. It’s an interesting read juxtaposed against the Philippines’ basic problems. Two issues tackled by Rappler: media corruption, which Media Nation discussions say could taint 9 out of 10 Filipino journalists today; and the line between professional journalists and bloggers.
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