Tag Archives: Natural Disaster

Controversial U.S. detainee policy in Afghanistan amended

The Haitian government has released new figures concerning rebuilding the country after January’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake, estimating the cost to be around $11.5 billion. A major conference will be held in New York on March 31st to discuss the plan, BBC News.

The U.S. has announced a change in policy that previously allowed soldiers to interrogate detainees in Afghanistan for 96 hours before having to release the detainees or turn them over to Afghani law enforcement. The new policy extends the time period to 14 days, and in some cases detainees may be held even longer. A Pentagon spokeman assured, “Most combatants we pick up on the battlefield will still be turned over to Afghani authorities within 96 hours,” CNN.

Fiji has suffered “overwhelming” damage from Cyclone Tomas, which pounded the South Pacific island for three days. Winds reportedly reached up to 130 mph, and one death has been reported, AP.

The Tamil Tigers, a rebel group in Sri Lanka, have declared that they no longer are seeking to establish their own separate homeland from the country. Many analysts believe this move may finally signal the end of civil war in the country, possibly ending the 25-year conflict, Guardian UK.

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Eight U.S. Troops Killed in Afghanistan

Eight U.S. troops and two members of the Afghan National Security Force were killed yesterday in eastern Afghanistan in a large battle against thousands of militants. The NATO-led forces were attacked as tribal militants surrounded two security outposts. A U.S. official says the country will abandon the base, CNN.

The island of Sumatra in Indonesia has been devastated by massive mudslides after last week’s 7.6 magnitude earthquake killed over 600 people. The mudslides have wiped out an entire valley of villages on the island and officials say more than 200 people are trapped in the mud, Wall Street Journal.

More militants in Nigeria are laying down their guns. Militant commanders Akete Tom and Farah Dagogo and their fighters handed over their weapons yesterday and rebel faction leader Government Tompolo says he will disarm today, shortly before the expiration of the amnesty period that offers pledges of cash and jobs for disarmament. Rebel groups have been fighting the government over oil profits since 2006, BBC News.

A White House official says President Obama will take on overturning the controversial ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy “at the right time.” The policy prohibits gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military, New York Times.

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UN Agency Says Iran has Knowledge Required to Make Nuke

A new confidential report by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency says that Iran has the information necessary to make a nuclear device. However, the agency has also cautioned that it has no proof Iran has started the complicated physical process of making a weapon, New York Times. Leaked excerpts of the report, Institute for Science and International Security.

Rescue experts from Rapid UK and International Rescue Corps have arrived in Indonesia to help search for victims of a massive earthquake that occurred on Wednesday. 1,100 people have already been declared dead and rescuers fear that another 3,000-4,000 may be trapped under rubble. The earthquake was centered near the city of Padang, BBC News. In pictures, BBC News.

Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and defacto President Robert Micheletti have agreed to talks, though it is unlikely the two will meet in person. President Zelaya was forced to leave the country in June after a coup by military leaders. Opponents of President Zelaya claim that he was trying to change the country’s Constitution so that he could serve a longer term as President. The President of the Honduran Congress, Robert Micheletti, was sworn in as the new president in June. However, world leaders have not accepted his presidency and have stated that Mr. Zelaya needs to be reinstalled as president. Mr. Zelaya returned to Honduras in late September and is currently living in the Brazilian Embassy. Soldiers are stationed outside the Embassy ready to arrest Mr. Zelaya if he leaves, Voice of America.

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Iran to Send ‘Most’ of Newly Disclosed Enriched Uranium to Russia

Talks in Geneva, Switzerland between Iran, the U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany ended successfully today. Iran has agreed to ship most of the enriched uranium produced at a recently disclosed nuclear site to Russia and France to be used as fuel for medical isotopes. There is currently a world shortage of medical isotopes, Reuters. Iran will also allow inspectors into the facility, New York Times.

Hundreds of people remain missing after tsunamis struck the Pacific islands of Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga. The death toll currently stands at just under 200, but entire villages were washed away and emergency workers are still looking for survivors, Reuters.

Just days after being hit by Typhoon Ketsana, the Philippines is bracing for another storm, Typhoon Parma, which is expected to reach the area by Saturday, Reuters.

Rescue teams are still looking for survivors in Padang, Indonesia, Al Jazeera. The earthquake was not unexpected, especially in Padang which lies on one of the Earth’s most active fault lines, BBC News. Eyewitness accounts by two Britons living in Padang, BBC News.  

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis announced that he will retire at the end of the year. Lewis was criticized for his decision to buy failing brokerage firm Merrill Lynch earlier this year. Though Bank of America’s stock is currently trading for less than it did in 2001, Lewis will retire with a more than $53 million pension plan, CNN.

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Romania’s Government Collapses After PSD Resignation

A second major earthquake struck Indonesia yesterday, only a day after a 7.6 magnitude quake that killed at least 770 people. Yesterday’s earthquake, a magnitude 6.8, is reported to have caused damage, but no fatalities have been reported so far. Hundreds of people are still believed to be trapped in the rubble from the the first quake. The death toll from the earthquake and tsunami that hit the islands of Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga has reached 150, AP.

The Romanian government has collapsed after the resignation of the Social Democrat Party (PSD). The party resigned as a protest against the firing of Dan Nica, the interior minister, after he expressed concern about possible fraud in next month’s elections, BBC News.

An inquest into the death of a 14-year-old girl after receiving a cervical cancer vaccine shows the vaccine did not cause her death. Experts say the HPV vaccine is safe for girls and only one in a million may have a life-threatening reaction to the vaccine, Sky News.

Hot Topic: Unity Is Rallying Cry Ahead of Iraq Elections.

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Human Rights Abuses Reported at Yesterday’s Guinea Rally

The death toll in Guinea after protesters were shot by government forces, reported last night, has reached 128. Human rights organizations have also received reports of bayonetings and of women being stripped and raped in the streets. Over 50,000 people were protesting yesterday after rumors began circulating that Junta head Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, who seized power in December 2008, was intending to run for president, BBC News.

Many towns in the Philippines are still under water and the death toll from Tropical Storm Ketsana has risen to 246. 100,000 people alone in the Manila area have been displaced and the city has been declared a “state of calamity.” The storm has now reached Vietnam, where it has claimed the lives of 23 people, New York Times.

Unfortunately, the Philippines is also bracing for more bad weather. A new storm is expected to near the country on Thursday and then make landfall later in the week on the island of Luzon, much in the same way as Ketsana, Reuters.

The White House has cleared 75 Guantanamo detainees for release. Most of those on the list were captured after the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and Pakistan, Reuters.

A roadside bomb in Kandahar, Afghanistan has killed 30 people and injured another 39. The bomb struck a bus carrying Afghan civilians, and the bombing shows that civilian deaths are rising in the country. Nine women and seven children were among the dead, AP.

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Yemen President Urges Ceasefire in War Against Shia Rebels

At least 50 people have been killed in the Philippines after flooding from Tropical Storm Ketsana. 21 people remain missing, but the rain has slowed down and the worst is believed to be over, for now, CNN.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh says government forces may be fighting Shia rebels for years to come, but urged the rebels to accept a ceasefire. 150,000 people have been displaced because of the war and hundreds have been killed only this month alone as violence intensifies, BBC News.

Over 121 children in China are suffering from lead poisoning. The children all live near a battery plant in eastern China and the results have sparked unrest in the country over public safety, AP.

Hot Topic: Cries and Hugs at Reunion of Families in North Korea.

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Honduras Imposes Curfew After Zelaya Returns

Honduras has imposed a curfew from 4pm to 7am local time as ousted President Manuel Zelaya makes his return to the country. Zelaya is currently inside the Brazilian embassy. Interim leader Roberto Micheletti has called for Brazil to hand over Zelaya and says Brazil will be held responsible for any violence, BBC News.

More than 100 people have been killed by militiamen in southern Sudan in ethnic clashes. The UN says the Lou Nuer ethnic group attacked civilians and security forces, possibly in retaliation for the deaths of 185 Lou Nuer members last month in the same area, BBC News.

Six people have been killed as flooding in the Southeast U.S. continues. Five of the six killed were in the Atlanta area and many schools have been closed, MSNBC.

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