Today on Rappler.
Story 1: EMBASSY: INJURED FILIPINOS IN RIYADH NOW STABLE
Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ezzedin Tago says 11 Filipinos injured in a Saudi Arabia truck explosion are now in stable condition.
A gas tanker truck exploded in Riyadh Thursday, killing 22 including one Filipino and injuring 111 people.
Tago says the dead Filipino was with his brother-in-law when the incident happened.
The Saudi government says the incident is not related to terrorism.
Civil defense spokesman in Riyadh, Mohammed al-Hammadi, says the explosion took place after gas leaked from the tank of the truck.
Story 2: SHELL: SANDY TRIGGERS OIL SPILL OFF NEW YORK
Oil company Shell says superstorm Sandy triggered an oil spill in waters off New York City.
The US Coast Guard estimates 300,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled.
Shell says at least two diesel storage tanks in New Jersey were damaged.
Sandy left a trail of destruction in the US east coast, with economists estimating the cost of damage at 50 billion dollars.
In New York, infrastructure damage in lower Manhattan and the cost of two days of market blackouts continue to mount.
Story 3: EX-MILF FIGHTER SEES HOPE AFTER SIGNING OF PEACE AGREEMENT
30 minutes from Cotabato City in the south, Darapanan is the main camp of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
With the signing of the peace framework, MILF combatants and civilians there face great change ahead.
This report from Paterno Esmaquel.
A Davao taxi driver who introduced himself as Ali is a former soldier of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The 38-year-old left the rebel group's Maguindanao home base four years ago.
“ALI,” FORMER MILF FIGHTER: Nakakasawa na rin ang giyera eh, kasi walang nangyayari. Ikaw nagugutom ka. Lahat, takot, kaba, hindi mo alam kung mabubuhay ka pa o hindi na...Tapos malalaman mo,'yung mga nag-utos sa 'yo, nasa aircon, may sasakyan, magaganda.
But he sees a spark of hope in the the initial peace agreement between the MILF and the Philippine government. The deal aims for the an end to the Muslim rebellion, as well as a vibrant economy that will hopefully lead to peace.
ALI: Maganda ang ginawa ng gobyerno ngayon. Gumawa ng paraan itong si Noynoy na ma-kuwan, ang gulo ba, magawan niya ng paraan na matigil, kasi para ano, makabalik na rin kami sa mga lupa namin.
Hope also fills the air in Ali's native Maguindanao. While MILF troops continue to march with their arms in Camp Darapanan, the peace deal aims to make this place a mostly gunless community.
MILF officials, after all, say the 20-hectare camp is not strictly a military facility. They say the core of Camp Darapanan is its over 1,000 civilians.
Locals speak to Rappler but refuse to be named. A storeowner says life is generally peaceful, except for occasional harassment outside their community.
PATERNO ESMAQUEL, REPORTING: This is the other side of Camp Darapanan. They have stores, schools, mosques... the life of an ordinary Filipino. But this is their only wish: for their life outside the camp to be as peaceful.
MILF chief Murad Ebrahim, however, sees better days ahead. He says people will reap the benefits of a final peace deal with the Philippine government, which he hopes will be signed by 2016.
MURAD EBRAHIM, MILF CHAIR: What is important is it will immediately affect the social conditions, social and economic conditions, of the people in the area, including our fighters. So we will be focusing more on livelihood programs, social, basic necessities, and then on health and education.
But Murad admits this will not be easy. In November, the MILF and the government return to negotiations in Kuala Lumpur to tackle more contentious issues like the sharing of power and wealth.
Ali says he lives a comfortable life in Davao. But he keeps an eye on the future Muslim region.
ALI: Kahit papa'no, nandoon ang kabuhayan namin, lupa namin, hayop namin, nandon. Yung ibang mga kamag anak ko, nandoon. Siyempre doon ka na rin lumaki...
For now, people like Ali will have to wait for a truly peaceful region they can call home.
Paterno Esmaquel, Rappler, Maguindanao
Story 4: VITUG: COMMUNING WITH THE DEAD
Rappler’s editor at large Marites Vitug talks about remembering loved ones as the country observes All Souls Day.
Here’s her video blog.
Death has a way of surprising us. It comes, most unexpected, slithering into our ordered lives.
But every year, during this time, we come together to remember death. Our thoughts go to our dear departed ones.
We trek to cemeteries, columbaries, churches or simply stay home, where the remains of our loved ones are nestled in urns.
Perhaps, All Souls Day, which is seriously observed in our country, is a way of coming to terms with the end of life, with this deep tunnel of the unknown.
It is a day for the living, to fulfill family duty, to embrace, in our prayers, those who have gone ahead of us.
Really, it is hard to know the depths of one’s grief, of someone who has lost a best friend, a spouse, partner, child, sibling or parent.
My father died many, many years ago and, today, this moment seems to be a blur of hospital visits, days and nights of prayer and then the final procession.
But this time, like others, I try to sharpen the focus of my memory lens and remember.
After all, death is our inevitable destination.
Story 5: VIVA, ATLANTIS JOIN FORCES TO FORM NEW THEATER COMPANY
Entertainment company VIVA communications is looking to revitalize theater in the Philippines through a partnership with a 13-year-old production company, Atlantis.
Katherine Visconti reports.
Viva Communications and Atlantis Productions join forces to form a powerhouse theater company.
Vic del Rosario's 30 year-old Viva represents stars like Sharon Cuneta, KC Concepcion and Anne Curtis and hopes to bring star power to the partnership.
Bobby Garcia, a Broadway director who opens a play on West End next year, is founder of 13 year old Atlantis, which brings in the theater know-how.
BOBBY GARCIA, PRESIDENT, VIVA ATLANTIS THEATRICALS: Star power helps. We do it all the time. I'm not going to lie, star power gets media milage. But you still have to cast the right people, the right stars.
The strategy is to attract more Filipinos who can afford theater with more shows, more variety and more top talent.
Garcia won’t name the stars but says he is confident about their line-up of broadway shows.
The 2013 season kicks off with the Full Monty in April -- the story of six down-on-their-luck men who overcome their fears and form a male strip act.
CHARI ARESPACOCHAGA, DIRECTOR, VIVA ATLANTIS THEATRICALS: Sometimes a man's worth is really being brave enough to be able to do what you need to do for the people you love.
In June the Disney tale of love and family, Tarzan, swings to the stage.
In November comes the launch of the Addam's Family, a musical based on the popular cartoon and TV family.
Atlantis will also showcase 3 musicals of its own in 2013, including the horror musical Carrie, based on the Stephen King novel.
PIAF based on the life of french singer and cultural icon Edith Piaf will show in March.
PINKY AMADOR, LEAD ACTRESS, PIAF: Her family were street circus players and they started out in the streets. So I think the story of someone who came from the streets and made it to international fame is inspiring to people.
Atlantis is also bringing back the sold out smash Rock of Ages.
NYOY VOLANTE, ACTOR, Rock of Ages: They are going to sing along and laugh. And i'm going to tell you when they come out of the theater they are really going to feel good. Sometimes a man's worth is really being.
By offering something for everyone, Viva Atlantis Theatricals hopes to make Manila the theatre destination for Asia.
Katherine Visconti, Rappler Manila.
Story 6: CAMPAIGN'S FINAL STRETCH FOR OBAMA, ROMNEY
President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney hit the campaign trail again Thursday after canceling schedules because of superstorm Sandy.
Obama goes through 4 vital battleground states a day after touring New Jersey's coastline, which bore the brunt of the storm.
Romney makes 3 stops in battleground Virginia where he seeks to refocus the race on his strongest argument: the sluggish economy.
On Thursday, Obama earns the endorsement of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an ex-Republican.
Bloomberg says the president's efforts on climate change and his command during the storm crisis outweighed his failure on the economy.
London-based newspaper The Economist also says it is backing Obama.
Story 7: PNOY TO SEEK INVESTMENTS AT ASIA-EUROPE MEETING
President Benigno Aquino hopes to attract more European investments when he leaves Monday to attend the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting or ASEM in Vientiane, Laos.
This is despite an ongoing debt crisis in the Euro-zone with no clear end in sight.
The DFA says the President wants to reaffirm Europe as a major investor and is keen on exploring investments from Russia, Finland and Spain.
Europe is the Philippines third largest trade partner after North America and Asia.
In 2011, bilateral trade with Europe amounted to 13-billion US dollars while investments from the EU reached over 803 million U-S dollars.
But the continuing debt-crisis in the Euro-zone -- the cause of much criticized austerity measures in countries like Greece and Spain --
will cast a shadow over the ASEM.
Analysts say a cash-strapped Europe is courting resource-rich Asia to help calm the crisis and restore confidence in the Euro-zone.
Story 8: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 7, the Pentagon lets go of its exclusive contract with Blackberry maker Research in Motion and invites rival companies like Apple to offer smart phones to its vast work force.
This comes days after the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said it was dropping the Blackberry device in favor of Apple's iPhone.
At number 9, an annual bonfire celebration in Britain sparks controversy over plans by British town Edenbridge to burn the effigy of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.
CNN says the town plans to burn an Armstrong effigy and decorate it with references to Jimmy Savile, the British broadcaster accused of molesting children.
Some say associating Armstrong with Savile is unfair.
They cite Armstrong's donations to charity funds for cancer patients. Armstrong was stripped of all his championship titles following a probe that showed he took drugs and had blood transfusions to enhance his performance.
And at number 10, 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 after an announcement last month the movie would screen for the first time on the National Geographic channel two days before America votes.
Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, a prominent fundraiser for President Barack Obama, is the distributor of the 90-minute action thriller.
Stockwell shrugs off suggestions his film is an Obama propaganda tool to sway voters less than 48 hours before polls open.