The wRap


Your World in 10 - November 2, 2012 Edition

Riyadh accident

1. Pinoy among 22 killed in truck blast



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On the day of the dead, a gas tanker truck exploded on a main road in Riyadh, killing 22 people, including a Filipino, and injuring about 111 others. Eleven of those hurt were also Filipino workers. The blast left a trail of devastation, causing a building to collapse and burning several cars. The truck veered into a bridge pylon at a road junction causing a gas leak that spread out and then burst into flames. Another truck fell off the bridge due to the impact of the explosion. The Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs said 3 of the wounded Filipinos had left the hospital, while 9 are still being treated. The 9 are in stable condition.

Read the full story on Rappler





Sandy aftermath

2. Oil spill and $50-B damage



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Sandy had triggered an oil spill in the waters off New York City, with US Coast Guard estimates indicating 300,000 gallons of diesel fuel had spilled. US oil company Shell confirmed the spill but without specifying an amount, and gave assurances clean up efforts were underway. Shell said "at least two diesel storage tanks were damaged and an unknown quantity of product was released." The tanks were at Sewaren, New Jersey refinery part-owned by Shell and run by Motiva. Meanwhile, damage from the deadly superstorm could hit $50 billion, economists said, but the impact on the broader economy will be minor. The lion's share of the damage will be felt by New York, where physical damage in low-lying lower Manhattan and the cost of two days of market blackouts and bank closures continued to mount.

Read the full story on Rappler and here




US election

3. Bets duel in final stretch as Bloomberg endorses Obama



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In a surprise move, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, endorsed President Barack Obama, saying he's the best candidate to deal with climate change, the New York Times reported. Writing in an editorial for Bloomberg view, New York's billionaire-mayor said superstorm Sandy had a lot to do with his decision, according to the New York Times. At least 38 New Yorkers died in Sandy's aftermath, and Bloomberg believes that global climate change is to blame for the violent storm that devastated his city. Previous to this, Bloomberg had been critical of both Obama and rival Mitt Romney. The US presidential campaign reaches its final stretch, with both candidates ending their short-lived truce on November 1. It's still a tight race to the finish.

Read about Bloomberg's announcement here

Read about the campaign's homestretch on Rappler





Asia politics

4. China prepares for leadership change



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China's political elite convened behind closed-doors November 1 in their last formal meeting ahead of next week's landmark power handover. At least 500 members of the Communist Party's Central Committee met to debate key issues ahead of a congress which will open on November 8 to usher in leaders for the next decade. The congress is set to name Vice President Xi Jinping to succeed outgoing President Hu Jintao, while Vice Premier Li Keqiang is expected to replace outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao. Amid these preparations, a Chinese court sentenced a man who posted pro-democracy articles online to 8 years in jail. The court claimed the case involved state secrets and did not hold an open trial.

Read about the power handover on Rappler

Read about the activist's court case on Rappler





Media

5. Court acquits Greek journalist behind exposé



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After 12 hours of trial, a Greek court on November 1 acquitted a journalist of breach of privacy in publishing the names of 2,000 Greeks with Swiss bank accounts, in a case that has exposed the debt-plagued Greek government to charges of a cover-up. Costas Vaxevanis, a 46-year-old veteran television journalist who now publishes a magazine, has insisted he was doing his job and accused ministers responsible for vetting the list for possible tax evasion by doing nothing for two years. Vaxevanis had faced a maximum three-year prison sentence if convicted. The ruling was met with applause. Several media workers had testified on behalf of Vaxevanis, including the head of the International Federation of Journalists, Jim Bumelha, who called the trial an "absurd farce."

Read the full story on Rappler





#phvote

6. New polls, old faces



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Almost 70% of district representatives, enjoying the advantage of incumbency, are seeking re-election, thus leaving not much space for newcomers in the 16th Congress next year. A recent study conducted by the Asian Institute of Management showed that there is a similar percentage of members of the House of Representatives, 70%, who come from political dynasties. A Rappler research shows that 159 out of the current 229 district representatives will be running for the same post. They are among the total 653 aspirants who filed their certificates of candidacy for congressman in 2013. Among the 159 reelectionists, 101 are seeking a second term, while 56 are seeking their final term. The Constitution allows a congressman to serve for 3 consecutive terms only.

Read the full story on Rappler




Technology

7. Pentagon, Blackberry and Apple



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The Pentagon will no longer retain an exclusive contract with Blackberry maker Research in Motion and has invited companies such as Apple to offer smart phones to its vast work force. The move comes only days after the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said it was dropping the Blackberry device altogether in favor of Apple's iPhone. The Defense Department insisted it would still continue to work with Blackberry phones and that "large numbers of RIM devices" would remain in use among thousands of military personnel and civilians working for the Pentagon.

Read the full story on Rappler





Day of the dead

8. Visiting your departed online



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Funeral parlors in the Philippines are increasingly taking advantage of the latest technologies to launch services into the virtual world. Industry players launch products and services online — coffins included — through their websites and social media pages so families and friends can make their choices before a death or to virtually participate in the mourning. Arlington Memorial has started offering the option to create a personalized Quick Response code or QR code to accompany their funeral service package. The marker that looks like a square-shaped barcode can be placed on any flat surface and, when scanned by any electronic device with a smart code reader, launches a website or multimedia collection of information about the deceased.

Read the full story on Rappler





Sports

9. Armstrong effigy sparks outrage



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An annual bonfire celebration that Britain holds every November 5 has sparked controversy over plans by British town Edenbridge to burn the effigy of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, CNN said. Edenbridge plans to burn an Armstrong effigy and adorn it with references to Jimmy Savile, the British broadcaster accused of molesting children. Some in the British community said the association with Savile is unfair. They cited Armstrong's donations to charity funds for cancer patients. Armstrong had been stripped of all his championship titles following a probe that showed he had taken drugs during his races.

Read the full story on CNN





Entertainment

10. Film on bin Laden raid premieres Sunday



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Timing is everything in show business, but the director of the first movie about the commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden doubts its television premiere Sunday will swing the US election. "SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden" raised eyebrows when it was announced last month that it would screen for the first time on the National Geographic cable channel just two days before America votes. Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, a prominent fundraiser for President Barack Obama, is the distributor and one of the executive producers of the 90-minute action thriller. Stockwell shrugged off suggestions that his film is some kind of prime-time Obama propaganda tool to sway voters less than 48 hours before polls open.

Read the full story on Rappler