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Strategic Analysis and Research by the

CENTER FOR STRATEGY, ENTERPRISE & INTELLIGENCE
I will not stay long in boxing because [God] said: 'You have done enough. You have made yourself famous but this is harmful ~ Manny Pacquiao on what he believed was a divine call for him to retire from boxing I am worried a bit because these are the things you don't say when preparing for a fight. He will retire in 2013 ~ Promoter Bob Arum on Pacquiao’s talk before his June bout with Timothy Bradley

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Volume 2 - Number 12 • March 26-April 1, 2012

4 Corona’s Defense Goes On the Offensive

At the impeachment trial, defense lawyers presented witnesses and documents debunking the prosecution’s claims of countless undeclared or undervalued properties. Plus: a congressman recounted how 188 lawmakers signed without reading the charges under threat of pork barrel drought • Word war: The media battle between the President and the Chief Justice

WORLD

14 It’s Not the End of the World

The hobbled global economy showed signs of improvement, as America churned out more jobs, Europe skirted euro meltdown, and China looks set to avoid a hard landing. But downside risks remain. The top worry: oil prices

23 The Art and Science of Breeding Brightness

Improve intelligence by boosting mental memory, enjoying music and art, stretching body and spirit, and having the right attitude. And don’t forget to take a nap every now and then • Beyond IQ.: There’s more to being smart than meets the mind

BUSINESS

30 Laughing All the Way to the Bank

As Asia becomes more and more affluent, its amusement parks are bringing in more and more visitors, with China and South Korea leading the way. Here’s the fun way to profit • Carnival base: Subic wants to add mirth to its old business of berths • The world’s fastest roller coaster: In Abu Dhabi, take a heart-stopping ride in a Formula 1 racer

TECHNOLOGY

40 The Ferrari That Will Drive Itself

POINT & CLICK You can access online research via the Internet by clicking phrases in blue

The auto of the future will burn less fuel, spew less CO2, avoid accidents, and do many other nifty things without asking or being asked by the driver. Say ‛start’ then sleep • Hands off: Who’s driving the car if there’s nobody at the wheel? • Hi, Beamer, it's Hyundai: Teaching vehicles to communicate with one another • Prototypes: Feast your eyes on these amazing concept cars

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Center for Strategy, Enterprise & Intelligence provides expertise in strategy and management, enterprise development, intelligence, Internet and media. For subscriptions, research, and advisory services, please e-mail report@censeisolutions.com or call/fax +63-2-5311182. Links to online material on public websites are current as of the week prior to the publication date, but might be removed without warning. Publishers of linked content should e-mail us or contact us by fax if they do not wish their websites to be linked to our material in the future.

Balancing Reason and Passion in the Impeachment
"Having become more of an intense public spectacle than a sober assessment of the fifth highest-ranking official of the land, the impeachment trial has caused many Filipinos to lose grip of the merits of the case. We take sides not according to reason, but according to passion." Those are the musings of a newly minted lawyer: John Carlo Gil Sadian, The CenSEI Report's resident legal expert. Last Thursday JC took his oath as an attorney with equal parts of pride and relief. But while last November’s four Sundays of bar exams surely tested the San Beda law graduate's knowledge to the limit, his three impeachment reports since January have posed their own challenge not only to his legal mind, but more so to his sense of blindfolded but all-seeing justice. Like every patriotic Filipino, Sadian seeks truth and integrity in our democratic processes. Like upright members of the legal profession, he values the rule of law, our God-given rights, and the logic and safeguards of due process. And like the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, which he joined as a new lawyer, JC guards the Judiciary's independence.

New Bedan lawyer JC Sadian: A legal mind and blindfolded, all-seeing justice

Nonetheless, in chronicling the gyrations of the Senate trial, the Ateneo political science major must set aside his own political and even moral leanings to focus on the facts and the law. After all, if evidence is ignored and statutes expressing the people's sovereign will are violated, then righteousness is ripped to ribbons, and the worst kind of politics prevails. In highlighting the most telling testimonies, documents, rulings and arguments, There The CenSEI Report also offers the unadulterated record of proceedings that, sadly, gets short shrift in the highly partisan public arena, where spin and selfpromotion often overshadow what's real and legal. Still, having worked in Malacañang, Sadian knows how governance is anything but pure legalities. So it is with impeachment. "The senator-judges will vote not merely by the letter of the law, but according to what they appreciate as the 'politically' sound decision," says Sadian. Which even more reason to provide an unbiased, expert and objective recounting of the trial. Thus, when the verdict comes down, even if justice should become a casualty, we will at least know the truth.

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The Defense Takes the Offensive
Corona’s witnesses debunk the prosecution’s asset claims and detail the alleged politics behind his impeachment
By: Atty. John Carlo Gil M. Sadian

The Senate impeachment court reconvened on March 12, 2012 after the 11-day adjournment at the end of the prosecution’s presentation of evidence against Chief Justice Renato C. Corona. Prosecutors rested their case after presenting 25 witnesses and 395 documents for the Second, Third, and Seventh Articles of Impeachment only. Lead prosecutor Niel Tupas proudly declared: “We have already presented a strong case. ... The evidence

laid down suffices to convict Corona for betrayal of public trust.” Some senators deplored the Prosecution’s claim to victory despite dropping five other Articles of Impeachment. Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago angrily expressed her concern that the Prosecution was “misleading the court” and has been “in very bad faith all along” because they keep on “saying to the media, ‘Panalo na

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kami!’” even without hearing out the side of the Defense. “Ang yayabang ng mga nagsasalitang ‘yan!” was how she furiously described such arrogance.

on the claimed non-declaration or underdeclaration of real properties. Likewise, the unfinished testimony of former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza may For his part, shed light on Senate President the nature of Juan Ponce supposedly Enrile, presiding undeclared over the bank deposits impeachment exceeding P30 court, warned million. In prosecutors that addition, the they are “putting statements After eight days of presenting their own evidence, the Defense team under the leadership of this court in of Navotas retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Serafin a very serious Representative Cuevas has started to shed light on the evidence predicament Tobias Tiangco presented by the Prosecution YouTube video because [they] and Land already made Registration pronouncements Authority chief about the weight and quantum of evidence Eulalio Diaz appeared to affirm an attempt that [they] have presented for [their] side.” to either mislead or misinform the public as to the merits of the accusations against the So far, the prosecution’s victory claims highest judicial official of the land. are sounding more and more tenuous as the Defense presents its witnesses and Signing without reading. The very first documents. While it took the prosecution thing on the defense’ agenda when the trial 26 days to build its case, in eight days resumed on March 12 was to attack the defense lawyers cast doubt on the very validity of the impeachment complaint for foundations of the three remaining Articles “failure to comply with the requirement of Impeachment, especially its strongest of verification.” Section 4, Rule 7 of the charge, the Second Article alleging Rules of Court requires that a complaint be gross misdeclaration in Corona’s sworn “verified by an affidavit that the affiant has statement of assets, liabilities and net read the pleading and that the allegations worth (SALN). therein are true and correct of his knowledge and belief.” And that allegedly Testimonies by the city assessors of didn’t happen when 188 congressmen Taguig, Quezon City, and Makati directly signed the Corona impeachment attacked the Prosecution’s evidence supposedly without reading it.

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The defense caucus was argued going on. that it was impossible for Evidence congressmenin, signatories evidence to have read out, the 56-page charges complaint in dropped. a few hours. Separately, Denying the the Senate motion of decided Admitting that he almost signed the impeachment complaint despite not having read it first, Navotas Rep. the defense to accept Toby Tiangco testified that there was political motivation to have some deposit behind the Articles of Impeachment against Chief Justice congressmen information Corona ABS-CBN Video subpoenaed presented to prove by the this allegation, Senate President Enrile prosecution, denying the motion of the reiterated the Senate’s previous ruling on Defense to suppress the material for having Day One of the trial that the impeachment been obtained with the aid of dubious complaint was properly verified papers. “Whatever evidence presented according to the rules of the House of with respect to bank accounts, they're all Representatives. accepted and admitted,” Enrile said. Nonetheless, the defense presented Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco as its first witness to show political motivation behind Corona’s impeachment. The former Liberal Party congressman narrated how House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. told the congressmen on December 12, 2011 that Corona should be impeached because of his closeness to former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Tiangco also said he did not sign because like other congressmen, he was not given a chance to read the complaint. He recounted that legislators were only shown a Powerpoint presentation on the charges, and that Speaker Belmonte said the formal complaint was still being prepared as the Regarding the Third Article which alleges that Corona betrayed public trust when he allowed the Supreme Court to act on mere letters from counsel in the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP) vs. Philippine Airlines (PAL) case, the Senate granted the motion of the Defense and ruled that evidence on benefits Corona allegedly received from PAL were “improper as these tend to prove bribery, a crime not alleged in Article III of the Articles of Impeachment.” On the Seventh Article charging that Corona granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) which gave former President Arroyo an “opportunity to escape prosecution” from several criminal cases,

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the Senate ruled against the admissibility of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima’s testimony for being hearsay. Senate President Enrile pointed out that De Lima’s “knowledge came by reading the dissenting opinion [of Justice Sereno],” and that “all she testified on the irregularities [allegedly surrounding the TRO] did not come from personal knowledge but by reading only.” The Senate denied the defense motion to dismiss Articles I, IV, V, VI, and VIII, which were dropped by the Prosecution. Senate President Enrile stressed that the senator-judges have a “clear understanding” that they will no longer vote or receive any evidence from the prosecution and the defense on these five dropped articles. Clarifying taxes, benefits and assets. On Day 28, Supreme Court chief disbursing officer Araceli Bayuga was presented by the defense to rebut Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares’s earlier claim that the Supreme Court did not file the “alpha list” identifying employees whose income taxes were withheld for the years 2002 to 2005. Bayuga presented copies

of the 2002-05 lists released by the BIR itself. Bayuga also testified that Corona received over ₧21 million in salaries and benefits as a Supreme Court justice since 2002. She added that justices are not required to liquidate their cash allowances, but are only required to submit a certification. Bayuga said the only taxable items in a magistrate’s benefits are the salary, longevity pay, and yearend bonus in excess of ₧30,000. Similar procedures apply to most, if not all government personnel. The defense also presented House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) secretary Girlie Salarda. She testified that Corona received around ₧2.5 million in allowances and other benefits as a HRET member from 2008 to 2009. Salarda added that when the justice became tribunal chair from November 2009 to February 2010, he got another ₧855,784. Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) secretary Irene Guevarra further related that Corona received ₧1.7 million in allowances as a SET member in 2008-09.

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Debunking the claimed 45 Corona properties. The defense also presented Demetrio Vicente to prove that seven parcels of land included in the Prosecution list of 45 purported Corona properties did not belong to either the Chief Justice or his wife Cristina. Vicente said he bought the seven parcels of land from Cristina way back in 1990 as shown by seven deeds of absolute sale

he presented. He further explained that like most property buyers, he had not transferred the land titles to his name from the previous owner, Cristina Corona, because of the transfer expense. The defense also presented the city assessors of Taguig, Quezon City, and Makati to prove that property values in the Chief Justice’s SALN matched assessments by city governments. Taguig Assessor Roberto Villaluz explained that according to tax declarations, Corona’s Bonifacio Ridge condominium has an assessed value of over ₧1.4 million, as stated in the SALN. Similarly, Corona's Bellagio Tower unit was worth over ₧3.4 million, as declared. Villaruz also presented a copy of the certificate of title showing that the McKinley Hill condominium unit had been transferred to Corona’s daughter Charina. Hence, it was not in the SALN.

Lead prosecutor Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. and the prosecution panel were rebuked by the senators for submitting to the Senate a list of 45 properties most of which turned out not be Corona’s ABS-CBN Video

Former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza testifies about a past transaction between Cristina Corona and the City Government of Manila, which some senators believe could shed light on the true nature of some of the money deposited in Corona’s bank accounts ABS-CBN Video

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Quezon City Carmina Cruz to justify Assessor Rodolfo the non-inclusion of Senator Joker Arroyo The Columns unit in Ordanes testified was especially that Corona’s Corona’s 2003 SALN. Burgundy Plaza Cruz testified that the dismayed at what condo had a fair Coronas did not readily he described as the market value of accept the condo due 'cavalier' attitude ₧921,000 and an to defects, as stated in of Diaz and the assessed value a letter from Cristina of ₧276,320. Corona in 2008, which prosecutors in The same values Cruz read out. 'misleading the appear in the public' by submitting SALN. Ordanes A presidential also presented four a list of 45 properties buddy helps the tax declarations most of which turned Prosecution. for the Xavierville President Aquino’s out not to be Corona’s grade school Avenue property and another classmate, former declaration for an legislative officer, Ayala Heights asset. He also affirmed that and current Land Registration Authority the La Vista property had been transferred chief Eulalio Diaz was also presented by to Corona’s daughter Carla Castillo. the defense to prove that the list of 45 properties originally brandished by the On Day 31, Makati City Assessor Mario prosecution as belonging to Corona was Badillo shed light on the value of Corona’s acquired with “motive, bias, and bad faith,” unit at The Columns along Makati’s considering that 17 of these properties prime Ayala Avenue. Like his Taguig had cancelled titles while 22 are no longer and Quezon City counterparts, Badillo owned by Corona or his family. confirmed that his figures matched those in Corona’s SALN. Diaz admitted that his agency conducted a “general name search” of all properties Quezon City Registrar of Deeds Carlo under the name of Renato Corona and his Alcantara also presented three transfer family at the request of lead prosecutor certificates of title (TCTs) proving that Tupas. Diaz also admitted that LRA Corona’s three Quezon City properties gave the list to the prosecution without worth about ₧43 million had been sold certifying that they were owned by the before 2010. Alcantara also brought Chief Justice. Senators rebuked Diaz and documents showing that the ₧8-million the prosecutors for submitting a list of 45 property in Ayala Heights had already been properties most of which turned out not transferred to a third party in March 2010. be Corona’s. Senator Joker Arroyo was especially dismayed at what he described On Day 32, the defense also presented as the “cavalier” attitude of Diaz and the Alveo Land Corp. customer relations head prosecutors in “misleading the public.”

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The next day, Day 33, Diaz got another scolding for giving contradictory answers to senators’ questions. He admitted to Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that he knew the Prosecution would use the list for the impeachment after having said earlier to Sen. Santiago that he did not know the reason behind the prosecution’s request. He had also claimed that it took him two to three days to prepare the list, but later stated that he had the list readily prepared as soon as the prosecution asked for it.

the City Government of Manila for the purchase of the lot now occupied by the Sampaloc public market. When the Light Rail Transit Authority expropriated land for the LRT-2 Legarda Station, Atienza negotiated with Cristina to buy BGEI’s 1,020 square-meter lot for the market. Since Cristina had been authorized by a board resolution to sell the lot, the City of Manila issued a ₧34-million check to Cristina “in trust” for BGEI. The prosecution attacked the validity of the sale due to Cristina’s improper authorization to receive the payment. But some senators believe Atienza’s testimony is directly relevant to Article II because proceeds from this sale may be the same P34 million deposited in Corona’s PSBank accounts. Senate President Enrile himself stated that Atienza’s testimony is “at the heart of the problem.” The trial adjourned with a hanging question from Senators Arroyo and Panfilo Lacson: What happened to the ₧34 million received by Mrs. Corona, considering that her relatives, who also have interest in BGEI, are contesting ownership of the land sale proceeds? This would be answered upon the trial’s resumption on May 7 after the long Lenten break. So after eight days of testimony, what began as 45 properties claimed in a Prosecution press conference was down to the five declared by Chief Justice Corona in his SALN, plus a sixth asset attached to one of the five. And SALN values reflected official assessments by city governments. Next for defense debunking: Corona’s allegedly bloated bank accounts.

Atienza and the ₧34-million question. Former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza took the witness stand on Day 34 to recount the transaction between Cristina Corona’s Basa-Guidote Enterprises Inc. (BGEI) and

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The politics of impeachment: The President vs. the Chief Justice
Impeachment, as every politician and commentator never tires of stressing, is a political as well as a quasi-judicial process. While evidence is presented using court rules, ultimately the 23 Senator-Judges will decide the fate of Chief Justice Renato Corona purely on their respective perspectives, guided not just by the weight of evidence, but also the winds of politics and the popular pulse. Aquino to make public his psychological records. Then, in the week before defense lawyers began presenting evidence on March 12, the Chief Justice did the rounds of TV and radio shows speaking about the impeachment and the accusations and evidence hurled by the prosecution.

Impeachment. It’s more fun in the Philippines. How have the trials by the Senate and by So while a Senate trial was being conducted before publicity affected public opinion? Pulse Asia did a national TV and radio, nationwide poll on the there was an ongoing impeachment from trial by publicity waged February 26 to March by the prosecution, 9, as the prosecution who openly violated ended its presentation admonitions against of evidence but publicizing evidence yet before the defense to be offered. President began. That prompted Benigno Aquino III Supreme Court was also unrestrained Spokesperson Midas in publicly attacking Marquez to criticize the Corona and virtually President Aquino at La Consolacion RTVM Video survey as “premature.” pronouncing him guilty. The most direct and According to the extensive commentary poll, 15% of the was his Powerpoint respondents believe presentation on Corona is guilty of the Corona’s alleged charges, while 1% are misdeclared wealth at sure he is innocent. La Consolacion College But nearly nine out outside Malacañang of 10 respondents last month. are uncertain. Onethird say Corona is Corona himself   probably guilty, while addressed supporters 4% think he is probably Chief Justice Corona with Arnold Clavio YouTube before the trial began innocent. And nearly in January, alleging a half did not feel one conspiracy to remove him among unnamed figures way or the other, including 5% who said they did widely understood to be Aquino, his defeated not have any basis to judge. running mate Mar Roxas, and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio. After the President’s La Notably, nine out of ten respondents said they did Consolacion speech, Corona hit back by telling not know much about the impeachment, about the

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same ratio as those who were unsure about judging Corona. Only 8% said that they knew a great deal about the impeachment, while 24% said they knew enough but not much. However, 56% admitted that they knew a little and 11% who said they had almost no or absolutely no knowledge at all. As to whether the House of Representatives railroaded the impeachment complaint, 38% did not think so, while 33% said it did, and 29% were undecided. On the Senate, 69% of the respondents said the Senate was impartial, 22% thought it wasn’t, and 9% were undecided.

Even before the trial began, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile admonished the prosecution and defense teams not to discuss evidence and merits of the case in public. After the President and the Chief Justice exchanged media barbs, both senators and bishops urged Aquino and Corona to desist from public statements on the impeachment. Last week Sen. Loren Legarda demanded a public apology from prosecutors for misleading the public in their media offensive accusing Corona of owning 45 properties. Impeachment. It’s more fun in the Philippines.

Pulse Asia Survey Results on Corona’s Innocence and Guilt

JUDGING THE CHIEF JUSTICE

Of the changes Chief Justice Renato Corona is accused, would you say that he is...? INNOCENT
(Base: Total Interviews, 100%)

Opinion on Chief Justice Renato Corona's Innocence or Guilt February 16 - March 9, 2012 / Philippines (in Percent)
RP 5 1 NCR 4 1 Location LUZ 3 0 VIS 4 1 MIN 9 2 ABC 1 1

Class D 6 1

E 3 0

Definitely innocent Probably innocent

UNDECIDED GUILTY

43

4

Probably guilty

47

45

3

I dont have enough basis for somehow making a decision

Definitely guilty

33 5

50

47

2

15

28 1

48

48

2

22

35 2

37

31

8

13

23 11

54

44

0

14

38 6

52

43

4

16

26 3

48

44

3

25

34 3

45

15

31 8

14

Source: Pulse Asia Survey on Impeachment, conducted February 26-March 9, 2012

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NEWS ON THE NET
Binay, Aquino, Enrile get top marks—survey
The ratings of President Benigno Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay remained high, that of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile increased, while that of Chief Justice Renato Corona and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. went down. This was according to the results of Pulse Asia's nationwide survey of 1,200 adult Filipinos from February 26 to March 9. The results of the survey showed President Aquino scored an approval rating of 70% from 72% last November, while VicePresident Binay's rating improved slightly, to 84% from 83%. Senator Enrile's approval rating increased by 11 points to 71%, while the approval rating of Corona went down to 14%, from his previous 24% rating last year.

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relations between the two countries will be discussed. The State of Kuwait is among the country's top investment and development partners from the Middle East. There are currently 130,000 overseas Filipino workers in the said country.

Smartmatic International Corp., said that the elections were generally successful, even if there are still things that can be improved.

'PCOS machines better than manual system'
At a March 22 Senate hearing on the continuation of the automated election system, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile said he supports the decision of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to purchase 80,000 PCOS (precinct count optical scan) machines from Smartmatic International Corp. for P1.8 billion, for use in the 2013 elections. He added that the flaws of the PCOS machines in the 2010 elections can be corrected. On the other hand, former COMELEC Chairman Christian Monsod objected to the use of the PCOS because of the glitches. He also aired his view against buying the machines, which he believed to be non-compliant with the Automated Election System Law. The 2010 national elections were the first polls to use PCOS machines and automated counting methods pursuant to the Automated Elections Law. The provider of the PCOS machines used in the 2010 elections,

House okays exemption of int’l airlines from Common Carriers Tax
The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved House Bill 6022, which seeks to rationalize the Common Carriers Tax (CCT) and the Gross Philippine Billings (GPB) tax imposed on international air carriers. The bill provides exemption from the payment of 2.5% tax on GPB imposed on international carriers operating in the Philippines whose respective countries of domicile/registry have exchanged diplomatic notes with the Philippines for purposes of availing the exemptions pursuant to the principle of reciprocity. When the bill is passed, international air carriers will be exempted from the 3% CCT and classifying transactions of the international carriers as subject to zero percent value added tax. The Philippine tourism industry was affected when international carriers left the country due to onerous tax impositions. Congress said that this practice is very much different from that of neighboring Asian countries that provide incentives to these carriers.

Kuwait's Amir to visit Philippines
His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, Amir of the State of Kuwait, is on a State Visit to the Philippines from March 23 to 27 upon the invitation of President Benigno S. Aquino III. The Department of Foreign Affairs said that during the meeting between the two leaders, ways to further enhance the growing

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The Patient Is Improving
With the U.S. looking better and Europe not collapsing, the global economic outlook is less grim. Now watch out for oil
By Ricardo Saludo

STRATEGY POINTS
With U.S. jobs rising, Europe skirting meltdown, and China softening its landing, world economic prospects are looking somewhat brighter If you have to fret, put oil prices at the top of your worry list. A $50/ barrel increase can gobble up 1-2 percentage points of growth Emerging Asia will continue leading the world with 6% growth. The Philippines tipped to return to 5% expansion in the medium term

No, the world economy is far from getting out of the woods. In fact, just last Thursday on the ides of March, New York University economics guru Nouriel Roubini, who famously played Cassandra during the 2008 U.S. financial crisis, warned in his Project Syndicate column about “Scary Oil.” “Today’s fragile global economy faces many risks: the risk of another flare-up of the eurozone crisis; the risk of a worse-thanexpected slowdown in China; and the risk that economic recovery in the United States will fizzle (yet again). But no risk is more serious than that posed by a further spike in oil prices.”

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The good news is, three of the four global economic bogeys in Roubini’s March 15 prognosis have stepped back a bit since the gloom and doom reports just a couple of months ago. In its Prospects Daily briefing posted online also last Thursday, the World Bank noted that U.S. unemployment had stayed at its lowest in four years for the third week running. That same March 15, investors bought $17 billion in French and Spanish bonds at lower yields than recent euro-crisis levels. And the Wednesday before, another issue of the

Bank update noted that U.S. Treasury bill yields had continued rising, while Euro Area industral output inched up in January from the previous month. Looking to Asia, as the China Daily reported on March 6, Premier Wen Jiabao has trimmed the gross domestic product growth target for this year to 7.5% from the decadesold 8% goal. That’s still a long way from the hard-landing fears of below 5%. Jobs are tipped to increase by more than 9 million, so that registered urban unemployment would stay at or below 4.6%.

Seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (red line) and monthly payrolls

U.S. UNEMPLOYMENT IS DOWN TO A FOUR-YEAR LOW . . .

10

0.5K

8

0

6

-0.5K

4 2008 2008

Jul

2009 2009

Jul

2010 2010

Jul

1K 2011

. . . AND EUROPE’S INDUSTRIAL SLOWDOWN MAY BE BOTTOMING OUT
Output growth over a year ago, with three-month moving average (red line)

10 5 0 -5 -10 Apr 2010 Jul Jul Oct 2011 2011 Apr Jul Jul Oct

Charts from the World Bank’s Prospects Daily updates, March 4 and March 14, 2012

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The far-from-dismal growth target affirmed positive forecasts from seasoned China watchers. Back in September, Morgan Stanley Asia Chairman Stephen Roach had argued in “China Landing — Soft, Not Hard”, that the feared housing sector collapse was precluded by the take-up of homes by 310 million rural Chinese expected to move to cities by 2030, plus government moves since April 2010 to curtail speculation and excessive lending. Last December the Yale professor affirmed his prognoses for China as well as India. “While China is in better shape than India, neither economy is likely to implode on its own,” Roach summed up. “It would take another shock to trigger a hard landing in Asia.” His colleagues at Morgan Stanley Asia argue in their update “Downside Risks to Growth Capped; More Policy Easing to Come” that both improving exports and monetary and fiscal boosts dispel fears of a major growth deceleration. For its part, the Economist Intelligence Unit said last month that Beijing has leeway to counter any major slowdown by cutting interest rates and boosting spending without accelerating inflation. The energy bogey. But what about oil prices? There were already complaints about fuel costs last year, when the Brent crude rate was well below $100 a barrel. Despite the continuing global economic slump, the benchmark price recently peaked at $125, kicked up by fears of hostilities in the Middle East over Iran’s nuclear facilities. Roubini notes that U.S. gasoline now sells at nearly $4 a gallon even before summer holidays raise demand and costs even more. And he fears that if the U.N. Security Council fails to get the Iranians to behave, the Americans and the Israelis may find that force is needed to restrain Tehran’s nuke ambitions. Then there’s the improving world growth prospects. As they improve, so does the outlook for energy demand and consequent price increases. Guess what a double surge of global growth and Gulf conflict would do

WHEN OIL AND RECESSION MIX
World: Oil Burden & Price

REFINING
$/bbl MBD Net Refinery

Nominal Oil Expenditures as % of Nominal GDP

2nd oil shock

Contributing to the next shock

1st oil shock Post-recession recoveries

3nd oil shock

Oil Burden

WTI (real,2008 base) Chart from PTT-P

Chart from International Energy Agency presentation, The Future of Energy Seminar, 2012

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to oil. And if fuel prices spike even more, we could see a repeat of the 1974-75, 198082 and 1990-91 global recessions, which Roubini points out were all preceded by skyrocketing energy prices. In her presentation to a Mexico City seminar, The Future of Energy, executive director Maria van der Hoeven of the Paris-based International Energy Agency reported that fuel prices remain at historically high levels. West Texas crude (WTI in the chart below) matches its 1980 peak in real terms. The share of global GDP spent on oil is back to the 2008 level of 5%, the rate prevalent during past oil shocks. Moving forward, Hoeven sees a “longer term trend to higher prices, but short-term risk to economic recovery.” The Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT by its Thai initials) is also watching sanctions against Iran’s oil exports as well as refinery closures. Last month its Petrochemicals and Refining Integrated Synergy Management

or PRISM unit’s Oil Market and Price Outlook Report cited the European Union’s ban on Iranian oil starting July. That’s about a million barrels a day in crude that would have to be sourced elsewhere, putting pressure on supplies and prices. As for refinery closures, large and uncompetitive facilities in North America and Europe are due to shut down this year. New capacity especially in Asia will come in, but the shift to new refiners will not be smooth, further disrupting supplies. Amid last year’s oil price escalation triggered by the Arab Spring turmoil, the World Bank assessed the impact of fuel inflation on economic growth. It projected that every $50/ barrel increase could pare between one-half and a full percentage point off global growth. Going to the country level, for oil-importing developing economies like the Philippines, the reduction could be as much as 1.5 points. For East Asian oil importers, a 1.9-point drop was forecast for 2012 (see table).

CONSTRAINTS
Addition and Demand
Global oil demand Asia - Closue Europe - Closure
North America Closure

Projected change in economic growth and current account balance, in percent of GDP

IF A BARREL OF OIL COSTS $50 MORE

Impact of a $50/barrel price hike (11q2-12q2) due to uncertainty Real GDP 2010 2011 2012 2013 2010 2011 2012

Current account (% of GDP) 0.0 1.5 0.0 1.4 0.0 0.1

Africa FSU Europe Latin America North America Middle East Asia Net Refinery Addition

Oil importing
RISM Oil Market and Price Outlook Report, February 2012

Oil exporting

East Asia and Pacific 0.0 0.0 0.0

Low-income

Middle income

Oil importing

Oil exporting

Developing countries 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

Oil importing

Oil exporting

High income

Oil importing

Oil exporting

World

0.0 0.0 0.0

-0.5 -0.6 0.2

-1.0 -1.3 0.5

-0.4 -0.7 0.9

0.0 0.0 0.0

2013

0.0

0.0

0.0

-0.7 -1.3 -0.1

0.9

-0.1

-0.6

-0.4

-0.6

-1.5 -2.4 -0.4

1.6

-0.4

-1.2

-0.6

-1.2

-0.8 -0.6 0.0

1.5

0..0

-0.7

0.3

-0.6

0.0 0.0 0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

-0.5 0.0 0.3

1.5

0.3

-0.1

1.4

0.1

-0.2

0.2 0.0 1.2 0.1 1.7

-0.2

-0.2

0.2 0.2 0.1

-0.6 0.3 0.1

-0.2 0.1 -0.3

-0.4

-0.3

-0.8

-0.4

-0.8

-1.9

-0.3

-1.7

-1.2

0.7

-1.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

-0.9

-0.5

-0.8

-1.1 -1.2 -0.4

-0.3 -0.4 0.3

Source: World Bank commentary “GDP impact of oIl price shock”, 2011

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Upsides and downsides. Beyond fuel inflation, global prospects offer more hope than they did in the new year. In a Makati Business Club briefing last month, Bart Van Ark, chief economist of The Conference Board grouping of major corporations and research entities around the world, gave his updated outlook for key global regions. “Economic conditions in the U.S. continue to firm up, but improvements in jobs and productivity are key,” he said. Recent data “suggest a deep recession in the Euro Area may be avoided, for now.” As for developing nations, “While the global manufacturing cycle has bottomed out, overall, emerging economies are adjusting to slower trend growth.” Among notable positives are gains in U.S. employment, some economic growth in Europe, and a rebound in world commodity prices after last year’s steep falls. Charting the improved mood is The Conference Board’s leading economic index (LEI), which measures factors that normally point to future directions on key economies. The indices began to stop falling and for America, Europe, China and Japsn, even turn upward (see chart). Also worth checking out are LEI upticks for Britain and Spain, plus the latest barometers for Japan and Korea. Van Ark was quick to add, however, that “downside risks continue to dominate the outlook.” The gap between output and potential in Western economies remains substantial, though it’s declining in America and Germany. “Wage growth is very slow,” holding back consumer spending. For Europe, Van Ark poses two scenarios: “just escape” with second-half growth this year (as the European Commission

The Conference Board Leading Indices for Selected Economies

BOTTOMING OUT?

Chart from The Conference Board briefing to Makati Business Club, 2012

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projected in its interim economic forecast last month) and “too little too late” leading to a deeper euro zone recession. As for emerging economies, the economist said “tighter labor and product markets raise inflationary pressures.” Across the Atlantic, London-based EIU also offered a mixed prognosis of lessthan-doomsday indicators and continued global economic slowdown. “Risks ease, but remain substantial”, published midFebruary, forecast 3.1% world economic growth this years, barely above the 2.5% global recession level. The most significant development was the European Central Bank’s injection of about half a trillion euros in loans to 800 banks by March 1, the second liquidity boost after a first offering last December. EIU also noted the 2.8% annualized fourth-quarter 2011 economic expansion

in the U.S., the fastest in 15 months, and tipped “a milder recession” in Europe. And while emerging markets are making painful adjustments to slower global expansion, East Asia and Oceania will still manage world-leading 6% growth with no hard landing in China. The China factor. If America and Europe look to avoid doomsday, China is tipped to keep leading global growth despite some deceleration. In its China Economic Outlook update last month, the IMF expects expansion to still exceed 8% for 2012-13, with inflation moderating to “more comfortable levels” and the property market “deflating.” If Europe goes deep into recession, which seems much less likely now, the Chinese economy could see an abrupt drop in growth. But the good news, says the Fund, is that “China has room for a

World trade volume and manufacturing output trends

THE GLOBAL FACTORY SLUMP TURNS

Chart from European Commission interim economic forecast, February 2012

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countervailing fiscal response.” Translation: Beijing can pump up state spending to keep industries humming while waiting for the world slump to pass. But even now, private consumer and investment spending have become the main economic drivers, as economists have urged to reduce China’s export dependence and its mammoth trade surplus (see charts). Other China-watching institutions are seeing the late-2011 gloom lift. Just last November, reports AlsoSprachAnalyst.com, Japanese investment bank Nomura saw a “one-in-three chance” of a hard landing by 2014, due to excessive lending, ineffective monetary policy, poor-performing but spoiled state firms, and demographic challenges like declining cheap rural labor.

Domestic Demand Rising, Inflation and Trade Surplus Declining Domestic demand remains strong as stimulus is withdrawn. Household spending has moderated to pre-cisis levels... ...and private investment has taken over from public stimulus...

CHARTING CHINA’S COURSE

Inflation has peaked and is now declining...

While the trade surplus continued to fall through the global cisis

Charts from China Economic Outlook, IMF, February 2012

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But this month, Nomura raised its 2012 China growth forecast to 8.2% from 7.9%. Main reason: anticipated interest rate cuts and lower bank reserve requirements, which are expected to boost growth above 8% starting July. The expected monetary loosening is deemed crucial to unwinding problems in the property sector mainly behind the hard-landing fears. “Funding is all that matters during industry consolidation,” argued New York bank J.P. Morgan’s 2012 China property outlook last October. While it expected no policy easing for real estate this year, the improved inflation picture may persuade the People’s Bank of China to loosen up. Sure enough, in its February update, “China: The PBoC's 2012 outlook for

the Hong Kong-based British bank. What’s in all this for us? With the world economy moving back from the brink of doomsday debacles in America, Europe and China, prospects for sideline economies are also looking up, especially the Asia-Pacific region. Asia still leads. In its regional economic briefing on January 30, IMF Asia and Pacific Department Director Anoop Singh said five minutes into the press conference: “Looking ahead, thanks to robust domestic demand and other conditions, we expect growth in the Asia-Pacific region to remain close to 6% in 2012, recovering further to 6.5% in 2013. And most importantly, emerging Asia will remain the fastestgrowing region in the world, led by China and India.” China is tipped to growth 8%8.5%, and India 7%.

IMF Asia-Pacific Director Anoop Singh: ‘Emerging Asia will remain the fastest-growing region’ IMF Video

growth and inflation,” HSBC noted that the central bank increased its growth target for cash and short-term bank deposits (M2) to 14% this year, up from 13.1% in 2011. “Growth is the key priority,” summed up

On the Philippines, the Fund’s March 5 update says: “We expect that the combination of the fiscal stimulus that has been put in place, supportive monetary conditions, and continued robust

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remittances will allow domestic demand to pick up in 2012 to offset the drag from weak external demand.” As recounted in the January report on Philippines-IMF consultations, the government agreed with the Fund to continue pursuing fiscal consolidation, including new tax measures to support further development spending. “Achieving the authorities’ fiscal objectives will require a sizable tax effort,” the

The patient is improving

While necessariiy focused on navigating the current turbulent global economic environment, the Philippines must also address longstanding obstacles to development. In the section “Building Faster and More Inclusive Growth,” starting on page 19 in the IMF report, policies for faster growth, higher investment, and more social spending, especially in health care, are needed to accelerate the economy and spread its benefits.

IMF Mission Chief Vivek Arora: Expectations for a return to 5% ‘potential growth rate’ IMF Video

IMF stressed. “The increase in revenue that would be required for fulfilling the 2012 deficit and expenditure objectives would be delivered by the improvements in tax administration and the sin tax and incentives measures.” As for the Philippines, there will be sustained funding for “key priorities for inclusive growth such as social safety nets, human capital, and infrastructure,” as the previous administration had also done.

As for the growth picture this year and next, IMF Mission Chief for the Philippines Vivek Arora said in a video briefing this month that gross domestic product should expand by 4.2% in 2012 with more government spending, continued strong remittances, and monetary easing. His prognosis for the medium term: 5% “potential growth rate” for the country. As long as the bottom doesn’t fall out of America, Europe or China.

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Increasing Intelligence
By Marishka Noelle M. Cabrera

Are we born as smart as we're ever going to be, or can we actually get smarter?

STRATEGY POINTS

Studies have shown that intelligence can be improved by boosting working memory, music and arts training, meditation, exercise, and the right attitude
Is intelligence unchanging over time or can it be learned? In this particular aspect of the naturevs.-nurture debate, scientific studies are finding that learning can be enhanced – and intelligence boosted – by a number of techniques and practices, along with a little discipline and some hard work. A Newsweek article entitled, “Buff Your Brain” examines different ways in which intelligence can be raised, challenging the long-held notion that intelligence is "largely unchangeable after early childhood." Citing a 2008 study led by Susan Jaeggi of the University of Michigan, author Sharon Begley writes, “Although working on short-term memory—basically, the brain’s scratch pad—has long been considered just one component of overall IQ, recent research shows that it may in fact be the lever that can raise overall intelligence.”

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In the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jaeggi’s team presents evidence that fluid intelligence is trainable, and that the more working memory training, the more improvement in fluid intelligence. Fluid intelligence is the “ability to reason and to solve new problems independently of previously acquired knowledge.” Instead of relying on quick fixes, increasing mental prowess is possible with intensive training. “[I]ntelligence comes from having more neurons and synapses (connections between neurons). The creation of new neurons (neurogenesis) and synapses makes learning possible,” the article adds. Bounce back from your mistakes. It starts with changing your mindset. A study featured in an article in Scientific American found that individuals who think that intelligence is malleable are most likely to “bounce back from their mistakes and make fewer errors in the future.” By asking 25 undergraduate students to participate in a repetitive computer task and recording electrical responses in the brain when they made a mistake, researchers at Michigan State University discovered that the students who were “growth-minded,” i.e., those who thought intelligence could be learned, “elicited stronger error-positivity responses than the other subjects” and “subsequently made fewer mistakes.” Error positivity represents the desire to fix the mistake. “A growth mind-set is about focusing on the process—as in the experience—rather than only on the outcome,” says lead author Jason Moser, a clinical psychologist at Michigan State. In his book, “Intelligence and How to Get It,” Richard E. Nisbett says that “Believing that intelligence is under your control—and having parents who demand achievement—can do wonders.” The University of Michigan professor encourages readers to “shake off the yoke of hereditarianism” in our concept of intelligence, and believe that much can be done to increase intelligence and academic achievement.

Get lessons in music and arts. In a research report published in Psychological Science, author E. Glenn Schellenberg of the University of Toronto at Mississuaga found that children who received music lessons “exhibited greater increases in full-scale IQ” than those who received drama lessons or no lessons at all. One explanation for the results is that “music lessons involve a multiplicity of experiences that could generate improvement in a wide range of abilities.” An October press release on the website of the Association for Psychological

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Science reports that Canadian scientists have found “exciting evidence” that preschoolers were able to enhance verbal intelligence with 20 days of classroom instruction involving “interactive, musicbased cognitive training cartoons.” Forty-eight preschoolers from ages 4-6 were divided into two groups: one received music-based training involving a combination of motor, perceptual, and cognitive skills, with training on rhythm, pitch, melody, and basic musical concepts, while the other group underwent visual art training, which focused on visuo-spatial skills relating to concepts, such as shape, dimension, color, line, and perspective. Verbal IQ tests were given after the training to assess the children’s word recall, attention, and ability to solve problems using language-based reasoning. Noninvasive brain imaging was also used to detect functional brain changes. The study found that compared to the group that received visual art training where no significant verbal intelligence increase occurred, 90% of children in the musicbased training exhibited intelligence improvements. Furthermore, arts training can boost attention and cognition. Attention plays a pivotal role in learning, memory, and overall cognitive performance. In an article on the website of The Dana Foundation, Michael Posner, Ph.D. and Brenda Patoine argue that focused training in any art form can strengthen the brain’s attention system, which in turn can improve cognition. The brain has a system of neural pathways dedicated to attention, the article says, and training these attention networks can improve general measures of intelligence.

“Put another way, behavior shapes and sculpts brain networks: What you do in your day-to-day life is reflected in the wiring patterns of your brain and the efficiency of your brain’s networks,” the authors note. As such, they continue, “Practicing for long periods of time and in an absorbed way can cause changes in more than the specific brain network related to the skill. Sustained focus can also produce stronger and more efficient attention networks, and these key networks in turn affect cognitive skills more generally.”

Meditation leads to better attention. A study by Dr. Yi-Yuan Tang of the Dalian University of Technology in China, Michael Posner, Ph.D., and their colleagues published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that practicing mediation, even on a short-term basis, can improve attention and selfregulation. Findings reveal that individuals who participated in a five-day meditation practice using integrative body-mind training (IBMT) exhibited better attention and more stress control than those who received relaxation training.

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“The result demonstrated that the shortterm IBMT practice can influence the efficiency of executive attention. Because the efficiency of executive attention improved, we expected better selfregulation of emotion,” the paper explains. IBMT is a method in which there is no effort to control thoughts, rather it promotes “a state of restful alertness that allows a high degree of awareness of body, breathing, and external instructions from a compact disc.” Keep a sound mind in a sound body. A University of California, Los Angeles study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychology reveals simple lifestyle changes can improve cognitive function and enhance brain efficiency. Featured in an article in ScienceDaily, the study shows that incorporating memory exercises, a healthy diet, physical fitness, and stress reduction can have positive effects on the brain.

Beyond IQ
While an IQ of 130 can definitely earn you bragging rights, there are still various facets of intelligence that can influence success and achievement in work and personal life. Take emotional intelligence, for instance. In a paper by Peter Salovey and Daisy Grewal of Yale University published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, emotional intelligence “predicts success in important domains, among them personal and work relationships.” Emotionally intelligent individuals tend to keep happier, more positive relationships, and “may have the capacity to increase favorable reciprocity within a relationship.” Spatial intelligence, on the other hand, is a cognitive ability that many modern assessments “fail to tap into,” says an article in Scientific American. Also known as spatial visualization, this ability is said to play a critical role in engineering and scientific disciplines, since it is “a capacity for mentally generating, rotating, and transforming visual images.” Spatial intelligence is one of the three cognitive abilities—along with quantitative and verbal ability—that is crucial in developing expertise in learning and work settings, the article says. However, “verbally-loaded IQ tests” and other standardized tests used today do not adequately measure this trait. Individuals gifted with this ability, therefore, find limited opportunities and experiences to serve as their outlets. Attitude plays a role, as well. In an article from the International Business Times, researchers from the University of Edinburgh, University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, and Goldsmiths University of London found curiosity coupled with diligence can significantly influence academic performance. “[A]verageintelligence students shone as brightly as those deemed intelligent,” the article reports. Lastly, cognitive psychologist Robert J. Sternberg suggests in his “The Theory of Successful Intelligence” a broader view of intelligence because it defines it “in terms of the ability to achieve one’s goals in life, within one’s sociocultural context.”

For 14 days, participants in the test group followed healthy lifestyle strategies, such as stimulating the brain with memory exercises and crossword puzzles, daily walks, a balanced diet full of omega-3

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fats, antioxidants, and low glycemic carbohydrates like whole grains, and relaxation exercises. After which, brain function was tested using positron emission tomography (PET) scans. It was found that the test group exhibited “a five percent decrease in brain metabolism in the part of the brain directly linked to working memory called the dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex.” This suggests an increased efficiency “so the brain didn't have to work as hard to accomplish tasks.” Lead investigator Dr. Gary Small of UCLA notes, “[S]tress causes the body to release cortisol, a hormone that can impair memory and damage brain memory cells.” In another Newsweek article by Begley, she relates the benefits that exercise has for the brain. “Exercise stimulates the production of new synapses, the connections that constitute functional circuits and whose capacity and efficiency underlie superior intelligence,” she writes.

Matthew Walker shows that an afternoon nap can, in fact, restore alertness and improve neurocognitive functioning than before the nap. An article in Psychology Today reports that participants who took a 90-minute nap recorded better learning performance than those who stayed awake. Moreover, the team believes that the results are such “because of the way in which memories are transferred from temporary and limited storage in the hippocampus into the larger and more permanent storage in the prefrontal cortex.” The memory-refreshing process, an article from ScienceDaily says, happens when people are “engaged in a specific stage of sleep.” Video gaming can be beneficial. While video games are normally categorized under distractions and thus, should be avoided, there are claims that gaming can actually boost

Take a nap. Rather than relentlessly trying to finish a report or analyze a proposal, take a nap to boost your brainpower instead. Research at the University of California, Berkeley led by

mental capital. The study, “Effect of ‘brain-training’ and Gaming on Fluid Intelligence,” published in the Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation of the Belgium-based Virtual Reality Medical

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Institute considered whether exposure to computer games can “lead to superior cognitive functioning” measured by the Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices. Researchers found that participants who trained longer got better scores than those with shorter training periods, concluding that “exposure to video games may improve fluid intelligence.”

Get smart

attention, and reaction times. For older adults, a virtual realityenhanced exercise or “exergaming” can “delay cognitive decline more than traditional exercise,” Medscape Medical News reports. Results of the clinical trial published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine show that older adults who participated in cybercycling achieved better cognitive function than traditional exercisers. In its abstract, findings suggest “simultaneous cognitive and physical exercise has greater potential for preventing cognitive decline.” Take a holistic approach. To end, improving intelligence requires a holistic approach. A good diet and overall physical wellbeing will inevitably lead to better brain function and emotional health. Keeping your mind clear and uncluttered will allow for sound reasoning and better judgment. Nevertheless, being smart does not happen overnight. Your brain needs enough training and stimulation to reach its full potential, coupled with selfdiscipline and attention control. There are no shortcuts, no magic formulas—just old-fashioned hard work.

Citing previous studies done by other researchers, the paper further notes the benefits of computer gaming, such as improvements in attentional processes, perceptual-motor skills, spatial cognition, sensory processes, visual selective

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NEWS ON THE NET
World
French police pursued the suspect, Mohamed Merah, as he attempted to shoot his way out of a 32-hour siege. Merah eventually jumped out of a window, and was found dead on the ground. The string of killings has been called the worst anti-Semitic incident in France since the grenade attack and subsequent shooting in a Jewish neighborhood in central Paris in August 1982. The Toulouse murders have crept into the French presidential race; some have even said that the news may boost the campaign of conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy. However, the real issue here is the lingering antiSemitic sentiment in Europe, as described in a recent study, "Attitudes Toward Jews in Ten European Countries,” by the AntiDefamation League. The candidates took their respective campaigns to the home stretch last Saturday, as the votes were being cast. The elite legislative committee – composed of billionaires, lawmakers, and academics – who will elect Hong Kong's new leader may be doing so for the last time, as China has promised to introduce universal suffrage in 2017.

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Strong earthquake jolts Mexico
Lasted Tuesday, March 13, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck southern Mexico near Ometepec, Guerrero. Several aftershocks followed, including a moderate 5.2 magnitude shake two days after. Although there were only 2 casualties and a few injured people, hundreds of houses were damaged and tens of thousands of people were left homeless. The country had not experienced an earthquake this strong since a devastating 8.0 intensity disaster in 1985. Meanwhile, the White House has released a statement confirming the safety and good health of President Obama's older daughter, Malia, who was on vacation with a school group in southwestern Mexico at the time of the quake.

U.S. exempts 11 states from Iran sanctions
The United States has exempted Japan and 10 EU nations from its financial sanctions due to the fact that they have cut down on Iranian oil purchases. However, China and India – two of Iran's top customers – were left alone. Also not exempted were U.S. allies South Korea and Turkey. Banks in the 11 countries have been given a six-month reprieve from being severed from the U.S. financial system. Iranian Vice President Mohammed-Reza Mir-Tajeddini saw the exemptions as a sign of weakness. “In a clear retreat, the US exempted 11 countries from oil sanctions against Iran. The hostile US policy of imposing sanctions on the Iranian oil sector is, undoubtedly, a failure,” he said. Still, oil prices climbed to almost $3 a barrel, amid reports that Iranian oil exports will drop by 300,000 barrels a day due to the tighter sanctions.

Protests loom as Hong Kong braces for new leader
The scandal-ridden Hong Kong elections could cause thousands of protestors to take to the streets to demonstrate dissatisfaction at the way Beijing has been handling the rule of the former British territory. Britain's parting gift to Hong Kong was a provision that the legislature of the territory be constituted by elections; and though China has honored the agreement, it has not granted universal suffrage.

Gunman attacks Jewish school in France, four killed
A self-declared Al-Qaeda militant shot dead a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse last Monday, days after killing three soldiers.

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Asian theme parks draw healthy visitor figures
By Pia Rufino

Big Fun Is Big Business

STRATEGY POINTS
Asia has the largest growth potential for themed amusement, due to increasing numbers of tourists from China, aggressive marketing and the establishment of new attractions Chinese and South Korean theme parks show the strongest growth in terms of number of visitors

The amusement business is coming up big for theme-park operators in Asia, as tourists and residents seeking recreation have been flocking to their attractions over the last couple of years. In fact, Asia has the biggest growth potential in the amusement industry, with the region projected to grow at an annual growth rate of 6.3% from 2009 to 2017, according to an article posted in March on Theme Park Post, an independent Belgium-based site dedicated to news and information about parks and amusement industry.

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Citing US research firm Global Industry Analysts’ (GIA) global report on Theme Park markets (the report can be purchased from the company’s website), the article says the growth will be largely due to strong economic growth, rising standards of living, income levels, discretionary income, and increased per capita spending on entertainment and leisure. In 2010, the total attendance for the top 15 Asian theme parks increased by 7.3%, according to the 2010 Theme Index: The Global Attractions Attendance Report from research firm AECOM Economics and an industry consultancy, Themed Entertainment Association. The study, which looks at attendance figures of theme and amusement parks and waterparks around the world, also indicates that the strongest growth is coming from China and South Korea. The growth, according to Chris Yoshii, AECOM global director for Economics, can be attributed

to three factors—increase in visitors from mainland China, aggressive marketing and the establishment of new attractions. 2010 represented what Yoshii called a “solid bounceback” from the challenging year of 2009, when the world theme park market sagged as a result of the recession’s downward pressure on consumer spending. As per the 2009 theme index report, the total attendance for the Asian Top 15 theme parks was 77.6 million, a decrease from just under 80 million in 2008. Ten out of these parks witnessed decline ranging from less than one percent to almost 12%. The 2009 report identified global financial slowdown and recession, outbreak of H1N1, and poor weather conditions in some markets as the culprit. China, South Korea drive growth in themed attraction industry. Among the Asian countries, China and South Korea theme parks showed the strongest growth. In 2010, South Korea’s Everland and Lotte

ASIA'S TOP AMUSEMENT AND THEME PARKS IN 2010
14,452,000 12,663,000 8,160,000 6,884,000 5,551,000 5,200,000 5,100,000 4,465,000 4,023,000 3,530,000 3,050,000 2,734,000 2,651,000 2,400,000 2,400,000

5.9% TOKYO DISNEYLAND Tokyo, Japan 5.5% TOKO DISNEYSEA Tokyo, Japan 2.0% UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN Osaka, Japan 11.6% EVERLAND Gyeonggi-Do, South Korea 22.4% LOTTEWORLD Seoul, South Korea 13.0% H.K. DISNEYLAND Hong Kong S.A.R. 6.3% OCEAN PARK Kuwana, Japan -5.0% NAGASHIMA SPA LAND Yokohama, Japan -6.0% YOKOHAMA HAKKEIJIMA SEA PARADISE Shenzhen, China 21.4% OCT EAST Shenzhen, China 8.9% HAPPY ALLEY Shenzhen, China 17.8% HAPPY ALLEY Beijing, China -12.8% WINDOW OF THE WORLD Shenzhen, China -4.0% DUNIA FANTASI Jakarta, Indonesia 0.0% CHIMELONG PARADISE Guangzhou, China

Positive growth from 2009-2010

Negative growth from 2009-2010

No change in growth from 2009-2010

Source: 2010 Theme Index: The Global Attractions Attendance Report, AECOM Economics and Themed Entertainment Association, p. 28

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World welcomed almost 6.9 million and 5.6 million visitors respectively, an increase of 11.6% and 22.4% from 2009 figures, according to the 2010 theme index report. Lotte World, the world's largest indoor theme park opened in 1989 in Seoul, is within a huge recreation complex along with hotels, shopping centers, museum, sports and activity facility, ranks fifth as top theme park in Asia in terms of attendance. Another entertainment destination will rise in South Korea by 2013, as Lotte World sealed a US$22-million waterpark project contract last month, the largest contract in the waterpark industry, with Canadian manufacturer WhiteWater West Industries. The 36-year-old Everland theme park, operated by Samsung Everland, which is a subsidiary of technology giant Samsung Group, has 40 attractions, including a zoo and accommodations, is the fourth-leading Asian theme park in terms of visitors. In 2003, Samsung Everland increased its revenues to US$82.0 million and ranked 12th among the top 100 brands in Korea, Samsung reported. The increase of visitors was largely due to the influx of Chinese tourists to South Korea. In the first nine months of 2011, 1.6 million Chinese tourists visited South Korea, an increase of about 17% from 2010, based on a Nov. 2011 People's Daily article citing figures from the Korean Tourism Organization. Meanwhile, China has a huge market for theme-park operators, according to Wu Wenxue, vice-chairman of the China Tourism Association, who also projected that over the next five years, the market demand for theme parks may surpass US$1.6 billion per year, based on a Nov. 2010 China Daily report. The country houses five of Asia’s top theme parks – OCT East, Happy Valley and Window of the World in Shenzhen, Happy Valley in Beijing and Chimelong Paradise in Guangzhou – all of which welcomed more visitors in 2010, except for the Chimelong Paradise, which maintained its 2009 attendance levels. China's top theme-park developer, OCT Holding Company, has invested more than US$2.5 billion over the past 25 years to build theme parks, which have hosted 164 million visitors and earned a total of US$2.7 billion as of 2010, according to the China Daily report. OCT said it invests at least US$4.7 million in every theme park to develop new recreation projects every year.

Everland’s T Express, launched in 2006, is the first the largest of any kind in South Korea robbalvey,

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Liu Pingchun, chief executive officer of Shenzhen OCT Holding Company, said he expects the number of visitors to rise to 30 million a year by 2020. More crowds at Asian Disney parks. Meanwhile, Walt Disney reported profits of $1.46 billion for the fourth quarter of 2011, a 12% year-on-year increase, on revenues of $10.8 billion, a 1% increase, according to a BBC report in February. Officials attributed the higher revenues in part to the opening of Toy Story Land at Hong Kong Disneyland in November. Toy Story Land is part of an HK$6.2-billion expansion plan that will see 30 new attractions over the next five years. Hong Kong Disneyland, which is majorityowned by the Hong Kong government, has been battling to increase its popularity since opening in 2005. The park was able to trim its annual operating loss by 45% to

about $92 million in 2010, according to an Agence France Presse article published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer in September. Tokyo Disneyland, the most visited theme park in the region and the third among top amusement parks worldwide in 2010, incurred a consolidated net loss of US$45 million in the second quarter of 2011, due to the suspension of operations for a month following the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Moreover, a new Disney resort in mainland China – the company's first – will rise in Shanghai in 2015, after the Chinese government approved Walt Disney Company’s US$4.4-billion Disney resort plan, as reported in an April 2011 New York Times article. The Disney park component alone will cost U$3.7 billion. There will also be two hotels,

wooden roller coaster and
themeparkreview.com photo

HongKong Disney Land’s Flighs of Fantasy Parade TCR photo

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A circus show at HongKong Ocean Park

TCR photo

Cyclone roller co

a lake and a shopping district, bringing the total size of the first phase to about 963 acres, according to the report. For the 35-year old Ocean Park in Hong Kong, the fiscal year from July 2010 to June 2011 was one of the most crucial years in its history as it posted a record of 5.9 million visits, according to the Ocean Park Corporation 2010 – 2011 Annual Report. “Our revenue broke the billion dollar mark for the first time ever, ending at HK$1.2 billion—including US$47.3 million of inpark revenue and US$113.5 million of admission revenue, an increase of 40% and 22%, respectively, compared to the previous year,” Chief Executive Tom Mehrmann said in his statement for the report (p. 15). Hong Kong's Ocean Park ranked 6th among top Asian theme parks and 17th among

theme parks worldwide in terms of number of visitors. Integrated resorts with theme parks drive increased profits. The mix of integrated resort (IR) and theme parks is appealing to a broad target market, thereby generating significant returns and increased project value, Christian Aaen, co-founder of international advisory firm Entertainment + Culture Advisors said in his presentation at the International Association for Amusement Parks and Attractions' June 2011 Asian Attraction Expo in Singapore. According to Aaen, in the past 10 to 15 years, related peripheral property developments have become increasingly important for the development of new attractions and theme park destinations worldwide, especially as part of the integrated-resort concept.

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asters at Universal Studios, Singapore

TCR photo

“IR,” a Singapore-coined term, refers to a destination development with significant scope and scale, which holds a variety of leisure and tourism land-uses to create compelling multiple-day destination resorts driven by the following key components: • • • • • • • • Hotels/resorts Casino gaming Theme attractions/cultural facilities Convention facilities Entertainment shows Luxury retail and fine dining Spa Golf

and gaming company, is part of Singapore’s biggest IR, a 49-hectare development called Resorts World Sentosa (RWS). The S$6.59-billion mega-resort opened in 2010, with four hotels in January, the Resorts World Casino in February and Universal Studios in March of that year. Resorts World Sentosa has Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) facilities that include one of Asia’s largest Grand Ballrooms. “Capitalizing on a casino component would allow for significant recreation, entertainment, and MICE facility development and investment without subsidies from the government,” Aaen said in his presentation. 'Park within a park' concept seen as significant trend. AECOM’s Yoshii was also positive about the resort business model, saying that “it is drawing a lot of interest as a way of cross-subsidizing the expense of a theme park with a casino.” Similarly, the GIA in its global report identified the “park within park” concept –where most of the theme parks are adding second-gate attractions and several hotel rooms to restructure

The Singaporean government uses IR to drive both its national tourism plan and economic development in general. Universal Studios Singapore, a whollyowned subsidiary of Genting Singapore Public Limited Company, a leisure

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parks into IRs -- to be a significant trend in the theme-park market. Moreover, it said that investments in park upgrades such as installation of new rides, creation of new zones in the park, and deployment of interactive and wireless technologies are likely to boost the number of visitors in the upcoming years. Another key technology trend is the use of simulation technologies, and virtual reality to replicate natural scenarios. Highend visual imagery with sophisticated special effects designed to optimize visitor experience is likely to bring greater crowds to the parks, the GIA said in the report. A 2000 Network of European and US Regional and Urban Studies paper, “The economic impact of theme parks on regions,” by Michael Braun, identified the following important components of theme parks for insuring an influx of tourists, citing a Economic Research Association 1998 study: • Be unique, a "must see" destination. This can be accomplished through character development, architectural form, natural features, special events and programming or a combination thereof. • Have large scale and a critical mass of attractions. Investment levels to impact international tourism generally must exceed US$150 million. • Combine high technology with human scale and quality service. Investments in the thrill hardware must be combined with a high level of service from the host and hostess. • Encourage overnight stays. Day visitors or tourists who stay with friends and relatives generate only 20%of the economic impact of tourists staying in hotels and motels. • Have complementary destination activities. Tourist-oriented theme parks should be part of a mix of recreation and leisure activities. A true tourist destination would also have supporting recreation uses such as high quality hotels, convention and conference facilities, resorts, recreational shopping and dining experiences, and sports activities including golf, tennis, and waterrelated

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Subic bids to become Philippines' theme-park capital
The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), the government authority overseeing the development of the 670-square-kilometer Subic Bay Freeport area, is poised to make Subic the theme park capital of the Philippines. In a “State of the Freeport Address,” SBMA chairman and administrator Roberto Garcia said that for the next five years, the agency’s development focus is to make Subic the country’s theme-park capital as well as the a top sports tourism destination, an eco-tourism attraction, and a cruiseship playground, according to a Manila Bulletin article posted on the SMBA website. (Click on this link for a slide-show presentation of key statistics.) Garcia reported a ₧8.403 billion cumulative investment inside the Freeport in 2011—a 17% increase compared to 2010 investment figure. Meanwhile, SBMA saw committed investments of US$1.236 billion, or an increase of 2% from 2010. He also identified foreign investors to be the major income generators of the Freeport as Foreign Direct Investments which currently earn $1.074 billion compared to local investors who generate some U$160 million. However, the Subic Bay Freeport, the former US naval facility, suffers from a cumulative loss of P7 billion since its creation in 1992, and the SMBA’s development of tourism niche markets under its Strategic Plan for 2012-2016 is expected to address the problem. Nature and animal theme parks including Zoobic Safari, Ocean Adventure, and the Jungle Environmental Survival Training Camp provide anchor attractions for the Subic Bay Freeport and contributes to the tourist influx in the area, former SBMAA chair Armand Arreza told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a March 2011 article. According to the report, Subic Bay Freeport welcomes more than one million tourists every year. Robert Yupangco, owner of the Zoobic Safari, a 50-hectare facility that opened in 2002, said the animal theme park alone attracts at least half a million visitors a year. “That’s just a ballpark figure. In a good day, we can have more than 4,000 visitors. Most of them are students who go on field trips, or entire families who visit us here,” he added. Yupangco further said a ₧200-million renovation project will convert Zoobic Safari into a rainforest to help increase international tourism traffic, which at that time constituted only 10%. “People who come here are still predominantly domestic tourists,” he said. Subic Bay Freeport received about 5.5 million visitors in 2010, which was a 33.48% increase from the 4.1 million tourists who visited the freeport in the previous year, according to the 2011 Inquirer report citing figures from the SBMA tourism department.

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activities, and excursions into nearby local tourism areas. • Support media (TV) coverage and exposure. TV exposure is very important in creating awareness in tourism markets. (pp. 51-52) Asia’s emerging middle class drives theme-park boom. As to the prospects for theme parks, AECOM Economics global director Yoshi said that the growth of middle class in Asia is phenomenonal and will drive huge investments in theme parks in the coming decade. According to the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects 2007 report, the world’s middle class will consist of 1.2 billion people in 2030. For its part, the Asian Development Bank, in discussing the rise of Asia's middle class, figures that from 1990 to 2008, developing Asia's poor population shrank from 79% to 43% of the total, while the middle-income population grew from 21% to 56% of the total. Meanwhile, GIA said focused promotion of entertainment and tourism by governments in Asia is expected to improve per capita spending and attendance in theme parks in Asia particularly in China, India, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

Big fun is big business

Formula Rossa in Abu Dhabi: World’s fastest roller coaster
For those brave souls who plan to try the most adrenaline-filled ride, Abu Dhabi’s Ferrari World— the largest indoor theme park in the world—is the right place to be as it houses the world’s fastest roller coaster. As reported in an Oct. 2010 BBC article, this roller coaster, the Formula Rossa, reaches speeds of up to 240 km/h (149 mph), reaching 0 to 100 km/h in two seconds, took the title from the Kingda Ka in New Jersey, which reaches speeds up to 128 mph. “You’ll scream over the track and 52 meters into the sky before flying through the chicanes, inspired from some of the most famous race tracks in the world, and across the finish line,” Ferrari World brags on its website. What makes riding Formula Rossa sound more thrilling is its claim to give the riders the experience of 4.8 Gs or gravitational force (G-Force), or the acceleration relative to free-fall. Its maximum acceleration G-Force is 1.7 Gs. Alberto Minetti, a professor of Physiology in Italy, says that normal people can sustain a G-force of 3, although levels above that are safe, depending on duration,according to the afore-mentioned BBC article.

Ferrari World's Formula Rossa in Abu Dhabi --the world's fastest roller coaster--reaches speed up to 240 km/h (149mph) or 0-100 km/h in two seconds

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Business
Domestic franchising industry's growth may reach 30% by 2013
Francorp Philippines chairman Samie Lim has stated that the domestic franchising industry is targeting a growth of anywhere from 20-30% in the next two years. The industry has grown by 262% from 2000 to 2011. Franchises are said to account for an estimated 30% of total retail sales in the country. Investing in franchises promotes entrepreneurship and stimulates overall economic growth. Budding entrepreneurs can choose from a variety of franchising options, depending on the initial financial investment required. However, it should be noted that food franchising is one of the most popular choices due to easy marketability. date for completion of the DOTCspearheaded initiative is next year; once accomplished, the project will more than double the current capacity of the airport. The expansion is in line with the CIAC's goal of making the Clark International Airport (formerly known as Diosdado Macapagal International Airport) a viable alternative to NAIA. Just this 2012, the number of passengers using the Clark International Airport increased by 38 percent. The rise in volume is expected to go further up once lowcost carrier Airphil Express starts flying from Clark. Thailand to purchase rice at preferential rates. Cambodia has also offered to sell its rice to the Philippines.

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Local plastics industry seeks reconsideration of ban
The plastics industry is asking the government to reconsider the ban on the use of plastic as packaging material, citing health hazards and the potential job losses. Industry spokesman Crispian Lao has released a statement explaining the industry's position on those two points, and highlighting the lack of local solid waste management policy enforcement in cities all over the country. Mr. Lao claims that the blame is being put on plastics, when the real problem, according to him, is careless dumping of plastic material. Muntinlupa was the first city in Metro Manila to institute a ban on the use of plastic bags; more and more municipalities have been following suit. This has prompted the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority to call on all local government units to pass ordinances banning the use of plastic and other nonbiodegradable material. Though there is no national legislation supporting a nationwide plasticbag ban, it is currently being pushed, most notably by Senator Loren B. Legarda.

Philippines expected to import 120,000 MT of rice
The Philippines is likely to import rice from either Vietnam or Thailand – two of Asia's top rice importers – in order to boost its stocks for the lean months later this year, according to the National Food Authority (NFA). The 120,000 metric tons of rice will level out the local stock and fill the 500,000 metric ton rice requirement for 2012. This means that the NFA is set to bid out 380,000 metric tons of rice locally to commercial rice traders and farmers' cooperatives. NFA administrator Angelito T. Banayo further explains that the Philippines has existing agreements with Vietnam and

Construction firms bid for Clark airport expansion project
Five construction firms have submitted their bids to participate in a design and build scheme for a P360 million passenger terminal expansion project at Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC). According to the CIAC's bids and awards committee chairman, Darwin Cunanan, the announcement of the winning bid will be made soon. The target

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The Car of the Future: A Thinking Green Machine
By Victoria Fritz

A car that drives itself sounds like a concept straight out of science fiction, outright fanciful, even for technologically savvy generations. But as it turns out, car manufacturers have been working on it for a while, and not just to draw “wow”s. There has been another impetus for developing a driverless car: safety. According to a CNN report, 30,000 people are killed in car crashes every year in the United States alone, and driver behavior is a contributing factor in over 90% of all accidents, based on research at Volvo. Hence, the drive, pun intended, to develop a driverless car. With or without you, comprehensive safety features. But even with someone behind the wheel, the safety features would be comprehensive, as listed by financialand business-advice website Kiplinger.com. To begin with, there will be rearview cameras, which could be standard in vehicles as early as 2014. Pedestrian

STRATEGY POINTS
The car of the future will become increasingly autonomous, with self-driving cars becoming available by the year 2020. It will be intelligent and connected, as demanded by the consumer. All new vehicles released in 2020 will have significantly greater fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions, achieved through a mix of technologies: biofuels, CNG and LPG, as well as different levels of hybridization.

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detection and night vision, using anything from infrared technology to light amplification, will allow for quicker reaction time. Adaptive cruise control, already available in some luxury models, will be standard, for helping one keep a safe distance from the car in front while cruising at highway speeds. The same safety features are predicted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s technology review. A combination of blind-spot monitors and lane-departure warning systems means a car that will not allow the driver to change lanes if the next lane is occupied. How’s that for a smart car? And airbags will be placed in every imaginable corner, including the seatbelt. And then there is Volvo’s vision for 2020: the injury-proof car, as reported by Reuters in 2008. The goal is to eradicate the roughly 1.2 million deaths from car crashes worldwide each year. The car will use radar, sonar and other sensors

to gather information from all directions, and therefore keep a safe distance. In the event of a crash, the car can take over and steer or brake on its own. This self-braking system would halve the current death rate by reducing the pre-impact speed by 15 km/hour, according to an official of the Swedish National Road Administration cited in the story. If General Motors has its way, vehicles will be self-driving by 2020, according to CNN in late 2011. Semi-autonomous features are already in current models, such as GPS, surround sensors, cameras and wireless connection. If combined with car-to-infrastructure communication, a car will essentially be able to drive itself. The same news report lists Audi and China’s First Auto works also developing selfdriving cars. More recently, The Economist mentions more models going the way of increasing vehicle autonomy. Volvo’s new V40 small hatchback can maintain a safe distance

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Look Ma, no hands
There are four basic sub-systems comprising a driverless car, according to tech-faq.com's page on the driverless car. 1. Sensors give the car the ability to survey its surroundings, detecting objects and obstacles around. 2. The navigation system pinpoints the car’s location relative to its destination. 3. The motion planning subsystem guides the car’s movements, to abide by traffic rules and avoid collisions. This will includes stability and traction controls, dynamic steering response and adaptive cruise control. 4. The control system translates decisions into actions. The page also discusses the current approaches to driverless transportation systems, which it divides into three basic categories: Fully autonomous systems. Fully autonomous systems aim to fully equip the cars of the future with the ability to navigate unfamiliar environments and transport people, products, etc. from place to place safely. No such fully functional system exists today, but various projects continue to promote the development of such systems, including the U.S. Dept. of Defense's DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Grand and Urban Challenges for driverless vehicles, ELROB (European Land Robot Trial) for civilian and military robotics, the Automated Border Patrol Projects of US and Israel, and the Italian ARGO project. Pre-built infrastructure. This approach seeks to enable driverless car transportation in defined areas, such as a campus or airport, which is said to be possible to implement but for the prohibitive cost of equipment and infrastructure. There are several prototypes being developed. One is the dual-mode transit via monorail with cars having the ability to dock to a public monorail system. Another proposal uses automated magnet-equipped highway systems capable of making the vehicles stay at the center of the lane, with entrance and exit points at designated locations. The Netherlands has the FROG, or Free Ranging ON Grid project, which combines the use of a central system with autonomous vehicles using lasers, ultrasonic sensors and odometry via magnets, and which is currently being used in small-scale applications, i.e., factory sites and container ports. Driver assistance. This approach consists of small steps – gadgets meant to solve small and specific problems, e.g., parking and driving in reverse – being gradually introduced. There are three basic areas under which the gadgets fall: sensorial informative systems, e.g., rear-view alarms, lane-departure warning systems, night vision, radar; actuation corrective systems, e.g., electronic stability-control systems, traction controls, dynamic steering response and anti-lock braking systems, and; systemic systems, e.g., automated parking and enhanced/adaptive cruise control. Reassessing car insurance. Meanwhile, removing the driver means eliminating the number one cause of road accidents, so one of the most common road crimes, DUI (driving under the influence) would have to be redefined. This development also creates an entirely new world for car insurance. Forbes magazine discussed this issue in July, saying that insurance companies will have to start as early as now to analyze risks involved in this emerging trend – e.g., whose fault is a two-car accident if neither driver was in control of their vehicle? – and coming up with the appropriate insurance.

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from the next car, and stay in lane without human intervention. It can also brake automatically when it senses an imminent collision, just like Ford’s new B-Max minivan. Ford has already demonstrated its ability to “hear” if the car in front is about to make a sudden stop. Nissan is developing software that anticipates a driver’s next move, like adjusting speed and position of a car going into a turn. The well-connected car. Today’s Internet-savvy generation will demand staying online even in transit. The standard will be an online car, able to communicate with other cars and survey the environment as well.

As if the proliferation of notebooks, netbooks, and tablets in the last decade wasn't enough, the car of the future will take mobile computing to a whole new level. John Leech, consulting firm KPMG’s head of automotive in the UK, shared his views in an article on BBC’s business news site last January.

Car-to-car communication
Not quite in the tradition of Herbie, the Love Bug, or Knight Rider's KITT, cars will be able to “talk” with other cars, and with properly equipped objects in the immediate environment, according to a Feb. 2010 piece in Car and Driver. Several companies are now testing these systems that allow vehicles to communicate with stop lights, report traffic to the grid, and warn other vehicles of accidents nearby, saving fuel, time and even lives. Some privacy issues could come up, but, as the article put it, “we think the Twitter Nation has already blindly given up that right.” BMW is busy fine-tuning their innovative car-to-car technology, which enables them to let other vehicles know about their location, condition, even current congestion and road conditions. The data is sent directly to all relevant vehicles in the vicinity using mobile WLAN technology. Ford is also perfecting this feature using WiFi and GPS technology, as reported in January 2010 in mashable.com. This feature is not being developed by the carmakers individually, since if a BMW “talks,” which cars, aside from other BMWs, can actually “listen”? In the U.S., the government is funding the creation of a standard design to allow cars of different brands to talk. Floating car data uses data from mobile phones to track traffic congestion, the average speed and direction. It does not require costly infrastructure and equipment, and is not affected by adverse weather, making it an attractive choice for an intelligent transport system. This can also be used to provide advance warning to motorists of traffic jams, accidents and other emergency situations ahead, with the complementary service of advising on alternative routes or other recommendations.

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He said, “Global car executives believe that as consumers become accustomed to instant access at home and in the office, they will expect the same services when on the move in their vehicles. In the future, connectivity will not simply be a ‘nice to have’ feature, but an intrinsic part of the vehicle.” The same financial advice site, Kiplinger, elaborates on this connectivity, and other abilities. Ford is developing an intelligent vehicle system that uses advanced Wi-Fi technology, transmits your vehicle’s location and detects vehicles surrounding you. Bluetooth will be standard, to allow Web surfing and social networking on the road. A simpler, hands-free system will help you find your way – and your favorite music -- with ease. Other features to enjoy with stronger connectivity include a more accurate and up-to-date GPS map with richer data, and access to an unlimited supply of YouTube videos for the kids to watch while on the road. The fuel-efficient hybrid. U.S. President Barack Obama has announced fueleconomy standards of 62 miles per gallon for cars by 2025, while the EU’s “Renewable Energy Directive” mandates that 10 percent of energy sources to be used for transportation must come from renewable fuels by 2020. According to “Automotive 2020,” an August 2008 study by IBM, executive ratings of the global portfolio of new vehicle production in 2020 indicate that executives expect by the end of the decade, 35% is the figure they expect environmentally friendly vehicles to comprise (p. 10). The remaining 65% will still be relying fully on fossil fuels (page 7), as compared to the 2008 figure of 95%. “All new vehicles in 2020 will have some level of hybridization,” the study predicts (page 8). The IBM study discusses the different basic levels of hybridization in the cars of the future: • Micro hybrids with stop-start capability and regenerative braking hold the potential to make sizeable contributions to carbonemission reduction and lower fossil-fuel consumption. Current projections include estimates of up to 10% reduction in carbon emissions and fuel savings of up to 13% under certain driving conditions. • Mild hybrids, designed to provide extra power as needed but incapable of propelling the vehicle alone, are gaining attention, with several manufacturers announcing agreements to collaborate and develop this technology. • Full hybrids, not unlike some vehicles available today (powered exclusively by the electric motor under certain operating conditions) will continue to see extensive development. Alternative financing models will fuel the affordability of this technology for consumers. Meanwhile, an independent site, HybridCars.com, provides basic information on different hybrid car technologies, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric, and E85 ethanol, among others, along with information on specific models in the U.S. market. Given the relative figures, which technology will lead the shift? Experts agree that the technology championing fuel efficiency will

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Coming attractions at your favorite dealer
In highly congested urban centers, people will start moving from car ownership to usership, as remarked in the previously mentioned BBC article in January on KPMG's survey of executives in the global motor industry. According to KPMG, with the number and size of cities continuing to grow, car companies will have to offer more than just the right vehicles to urban dwellers. They will have to become “mobility service providers,” offering services such as car sharing for people who cannot afford or who do not want to own cars, satnav (satellite navigation) guides to available parking, and sophisticated driverless taxi services within urban areas reserved for such autonomous vehicles. The future of the car. In a recent article in Financial Times, Ford introduced its “blueprint for mobility” (registration required for access), essentially to address traffic gridlock, getting worse as car sales boom in congested urban centers of emerging markets, where road and traffic infrastructure have failed to keep up. The idea is to use the wealth of available info on the road for better traffic management. Ford Chairman Bill Ford calls for the integration of services, and even industries, to come up with “seamless, clean mobility in a crowded world,” including partnerships between national and regional governments and the academic sectors that specialize in urban planning. According to the Financial Times article, Ford is not the only company calling for greater coordination to mitigate congestion. BMW, Peugeot, Daimler and Audi are also experimenting with new business models more apt for a highly urbanized world. This includes schemes with shared car ownership, or integrated with public and other forms of transport. There would seem to be a trend toward light electric vehicles, some of which are already in the testing stage, as shown in a CNN gallery of future city cars.

The GM EN-V

  This is a small electric car on two wheels that is networked for sharing information with other cars. It's also a self-driving car that can come to you and take you where you want to go.

Scion iQ EV

Toyota’s own version of the compact city car is an electric version of the Scion iQ. According to the article, because the battery-powered iQ EV will have a range of less than 50 miles, Toyota will offer this car to car-sharing programs in big cities, as an alternative to car ownership for people who have just occasional errands to run.

 

The Hiriko Folding Car

Named after a Basque word meaning “urban,” this car was   developed by the Massachussetts Institute of Technology, and is scheduled to be used in a pilot program in Spain's Basque region next year if it passes crash-testing. The car is meant to be a shared resource in a crowded area, and can fold up when parked.

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The car of the future: a thinking green machine

not be the battery electric vehicle, or the sustainability report for 2011, Ford talks hydrogen car, or an amazing engine with an of its Portfolio Approach, offering a host ultra-light body that can log 50 kilometers of choices to attain fuel efficiency, saying, per liter. It will be a mix of all three, and “there may be no single winner on the race possibly a combination for the vehicle of the future.” of said technologies. ‘Two-thirds [of The choices will include Some will vouch for car electrification. respondents] six-speed transmissions and better engines, all-electric don't expect However, electric as well as hybrid cars, and the electric vehicles increased use of bio-fuels. CNG vehicles will not breach the 15% mark by 2025, to exceed 15% and LPG conversions offer according to a survey of annual global a lower-carbon option. Allof automotive industry electric and plug-in hybrids are sales in the next seen as the best option leaders released in 15 years’ 2012, this time by for urban commutes under consulting firm KPMG, 40 miles daily, with an - KPMG who says: “Two thirds increasing range as battery [of respondents] don’t technology improves. expect electric vehicles to exceed 15 percent of annual global sales A hydrogen car will remove the problem within the next 15 years.” posed by batteries, and Ford is also developing technology in this area, but the The prohibitive cost and short lifespan lack of infrastructure, for example, solarof the electric-car battery remains a big powered fueling stations, is an obvious obstacle. An electric car like the Nissan Leaf impediment. Producing hydrogen still uses costs $35,200, about half of which comes fossil fuel, which negates the positive effects from the battery. In addition, a battery of a gas-free vehicle. has a limited lifespan, which depreciates it faster than conventional batteries. The Most car companies already have electric combination of its limited lifespan and and hybrid models to choose from. Toyota’s continuing improvements in batter design Prius has been in the market for several constitutes a double-whammy for your car's years. BMW has its ActiveHybrid Series. value at resale time. Nissan’s Leaf is in direct competition with GM’s Volt, in terms of size and range. On While battery design continues to improve, the high end of the market is Jaguar’s it remains a major expense, so carmakers hybrid C-X75, with CO2 emissions as low as are looking at a mixed offering for the the Prius but capable of accelerating to 100 immediate future. In its corporate website’s mph in 6 seconds.

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Technology
American study finds that texting is ultimate social tool for teens
A study conducted by the Pew Internet & American life Project has established that rather than hampering social lives, mobile devices are in fact a key component in American teens' interactions with people. The main form of communication is texting – 63% of surveyed teens say they text daily. The least popular forms of communication are e-mail and instant messaging; 39% say they never use email on their smartphones. These numbers reconfirm findings of a similar study conducted in 2010. A local perspective can be gleaned from a paper written by Aleli A. Quirante, faculty member of the College of Mass Communication of the University of the Philippines Diliman. A global perspective is available on marketing research group TNS' “Mobile Life” website. claims is a transformative solution for the networked workplace and economy. Though similar to competitors Yammer and Jive, the Saba People Cloud has one unique trick up their sleeve – a People Quotient (pQ) rating. This number assigns a value to each employee based on a wide range of data; including work output and online interactions. Workplace practices and ethics – in the context of social media networking – are serious issues. Social media networking is now undeniably a part of the modern workplace, and has its advantages and disadvantages. though insiders note that the tablet may use an x86 chip. Microsoft was also in the news recently as information about its "proof-of-concept" code leaked. Its online venture Bing was also shaken up last week when two of its executives were fired due to allegations of corporate assets mismanagement. .

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The Pirate Bay plans robot drone servers to dodge law enforcement
The Pirate Bay has announced via blog post that it's planning to build and launch robot drone planes in order to host its servers in the sky. The logic behind the idea is to make it difficult for lawenforcement authorities to seize their machines without resorting to overtly aggressive means. This is only the latest in a continuing saga of ups and downs for the file-sharing site. In 2009, its founders were found guilty of breaching copyright law; subsequently, reports followed of a buyout in an attempt to legitimize the business. More recently, in connection with his involvement in the Pirate Bay, millionaire Carl Lundström was sentenced to four months of community service while electronically tagged.

Windows 8 may debut this October
Reports say that Microsoft is set to complete the newest version of its flagship operating system in time for an October release. Aside from being compatible with x86 chips for personal computers, Windows 8 will also be able to run on ARM chips – allowing for the OS to be used in devices such as tablets. Lenovo is already planning to market a tablet running on Windows 8,

Social media networking tool rates your job skills
Human resources software outfit Saba is releasing a new social media networking tool called the Saba People Cloud, which it

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