- The Washington Times - Monday, October 12, 2009


U.S. relief-supplies airlift continues

BAGUIO | U.S. Marine CH-46 helicopters loaded with rice, sardines and drinking water flew Sunday into a stricken Philippine mountain city where supplies are running short after landslides triggered by a storm blocked roads and buried dozens of residents.

Three days after tons of mud and rock cascaded down hillsides in Baguio because of heavy rains, rescuers were still digging for survivors. Meanwhile, panic buying of canned goods emptied several stores in the city, and authorities were forced to ration gasoline.

But as Tropical Depression Parma blew out late Saturday after drenching the country’s north for a week, the overwhelmed government, helped by the U.S. military, was able to step up relief efforts.

Back-to-back typhoons in the past two weeks have killed more than 600 people in the northern Philippines, posing a severe test for the authorities. Hundreds of thousands are still displaced from their homes, and the damage from the storms will require hundreds of millions of dollars to fix.


Mitchell fails to restart talks

JERUSALEM | Washington’s special Mideast envoy wrapped up his latest round of shuttle diplomacy in the region on Sunday, again having failed to persuade the Israelis and Palestinians to resume peace talks.

The envoy, former Sen. George J. Mitchell, spent more than an hour huddling with Israel’s prime minister and defense minister. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the talks “continued their discussions on moving the peace process forward.”

Mr. Mitchell did not comment publicly after the meeting and was returning to Washington, U.S. officials said.

Mr. Mitchell, a mediator of Northern Ireland’s peace deal, has been shuttling between Israeli and Palestinian officials for months, trying to restart negotiations that broke down late last year.


Drill canceled over Israeli participation

JERUSALEM | Turkey has canceled an annual joint air force drill that was to have taken place this week, because it opposed Israeli participation, the Israeli military said, in the latest sign of deteriorating relations between the two countries.

Turkey, a secular country ruled by an Islamic-oriented party, had long been Israel’s best friend in the Muslim world. But ties have cooled sharply over Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s sharp criticism of Israel’s winter war in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military said the Oct. 12-23 drill was delayed indefinitely “because of Turkey’s decision to change the list of participating countries, thus excluding Israel.”

The exercise was to have been the sixth annual maneuver of its kind. The military said it was to have included U.S., Italian and NATO forces.


Ruling coalition wins provincial vote

COLOMBO | Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition won the latest in a string of provincial elections this weekend, a strong result that analysts said is likely to spur its leader to call early national and presidential balloting.

With a popularity boost from his defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels after a 25-year war, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s coalition won 38 seats in the 55-member council of his native province in Saturday’s election.

The United People’s Freedom Alliance won 68 percent of the vote, less than the 70 percent to 80 percent it had forecast in the province where Mr. Rajapaksa has started massive development projects, including work on the country’s largest port.

The margin was still strong enough that Mr. Rajapaksa is now likely to call early national elections, analysts and supporters said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide