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Hundreds of fishermen missing after typhoon

NEW BATAAN — The number of people missing after a typhoon devastated parts of the southern Philippines jumped to nearly 900 after families and fishing companies reported losing contact with more than 300 fishermen at sea, officials said Sunday.

The fishermen from southern General Santos city and nearby Sarangani province left a few days before Typhoon Bopha hit the main southern island of Mindanao on Tuesday, triggering flash floods that killed more than 600, Civil Defense chief Benito Ramos said.

Mr. Ramos said the fishermen were headed to the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea and to the Pacific Ocean. He said there has been no contact from them for a week.

After slamming into the southern Philippines, the typhoon moved out to sea, but then veered back toward the country’s northwest on Saturday, prompting worries of more devastation.

As of late Sunday, it had begun to dissipate and weaken into a low-pressure area as it moved farther into the South China Sea, about 65 miles west of the Philippines’ Ilocos Norte province.

ROMANIA

Center-left wins parliamentary elections

BUCHAREST — Romania’s center-left government of Prime Minister Victor Ponta won a clear victory in Sunday’s parliamentary elections, according to exit polls.

The result could inflame the personal rivalry between the nation’s top two officials and bring yet more political upheaval.

The prime minister’s governing alliance had about 57 percent of seats in the 452-seat legislature, according to a poll published after elections on national television TVR.

Coming in second was a center-right group, allied to President Traian Basescu, which polled more than 18 percent. A populist party headed by a media tycoon won about 13 percent, according to the poll.

First results are expected Monday.

Mr. Basescu and Mr. Ponta are bitter rivals after the government tried to remove Mr. Basescu from office in an impeachment vote in July, a bid that failed as too few people voted to make the election valid.

Mr. Basescu has indicated he won’t appoint the 40-year-old Mr. Ponta again, calling him a “compulsive liar” and saying he plagiarized his doctoral thesis.

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