- - Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Typhoon rains flood Manila; 16 reported dead

MANILA — Manila residents waded through waist-deep floodwaters and dodged flying debris Tuesday as a powerful typhoon struck the Philippines, killing at least 16 people and sending waves as tall as palm trees crashing over seawalls.

Most deaths occurred in metropolitan Manila, which already was soaked by heavy monsoon rains ahead of Typhoon Nesat’s arrival with more downpours and wind gusts of up to 93 mph.

Downtown areas along Manila Bay suffered their worst flooding in decades. Soldiers and police scrambled to evacuate thousands of people in low-lying areas, where rivers and the sea spilled into shanties, hospitals, hotels and the seaside U.S. Embassy compound.

The massive flooding came exactly a day after this sprawling, coastal city of 12 million held two-year commemorations for the nearly 500 people killed during a 2009 storm, which dumped a month’s worth of rainfall in just 12 hours.


First post-Mubarak vote to begin Nov. 28

CAIRO — Egypt’s ruling military decreed Tuesday that the country’s first parliamentary elections since Hosni Mubarak’s ouster will begin Nov. 28, ending months of speculation on the timing of the key vote but failing to quell disagreement about how it will be run.

The elections for parliament’s two chambers will be staggered over several months, with the vote for the legislative People’s Assembly starting Nov. 28 and the less powerful Shura Council, the chamber’s upper house, on Jan. 29.

The first session for the People’s Assembly will be held March 17. The Shura Council will convene March 24.

The announcement by the ruling military council, which took over from Mr. Mubarak in February, was carried on the state news agency and television.

The new parliament will not end the rule of Egypt’s military. It was decided in advance that the governing military council will remain in charge of the country until a new president is elected. No date has been set yet for the presidential elections.


Iran plans to send ships close to U.S.

TEHRAN — Iran’s navy is going to deploy ships close to U.S. territorial waters, its commander in chief was quoted as saying Tuesday.

“As the global oppression [referring to the U.S.] is present not far from our maritime border … our navy is going to have a strong presence not far from U.S. territorial waters,” the Irna news agency quoted Adm. Habibollah Sayyari as saying.

On July 19 Adm. Sayyari said Iran was going to send “a flotilla into the Atlantic.”

The remarks come as another high-ranking Iranian appeared to reject a recent U.S. request to establish a “red phone” link between the countries to avoid unwanted confrontation between their armed forces in the Persian Gulf region.

“When we are in the Gulf of Mexico, we will establish direct contact with the United States,” Ali Fadavi, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps navy, was quoted in press reports as saying. “In the view of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the presence of the U.S. in the Persian Gulf is illegitimate and makes no sense.”

The Iranian navy has been developing its presence in international waters since last year, regularly launching vessels in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden to protect Iranian ships from Somali pirates.

Iran also sent two ships into the Mediterranean for the first time in February, via the Suez Canal, to the annoyance of Israel and the United States.


7-year sentence sought for Tymoshenko

KIEV —A spokeswoman for former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said prosecutors have asked the judge in her abuse-of-office trial to sentence her to seven years in prison.

Prosecutor Liliya Frolova also asked the judge on Tuesday to fine the country’s top opposition leader $190,000 for the alleged damages she caused and to make her ineligible to occupy government posts for three years, spokeswoman Natasha Lysova said,

Prosecutors could not immediately be reached for comment.

Mrs. Tymoshenko stands accused of exceeding her authority when signing a gas import contract with Russia in 2009. She says the trial is an effort by President Viktor Yanukovych to bar her from upcoming elections.


Turkish ship begins oil exploration off Cyprus

ANKARA — Turkey is using its navy and air force to escort a ship conducting oil and gas exploration off Cyprus, an official said Tuesday, in the latest development in a disagreement over the ownership of the disputed island nation’s natural resources.

Cyprus is divided into a Greek Cypriot south and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north.

The southern government began exploratory drilling for oil and gas last week, prompting strong protests from Turkey, which doesn’t recognize the Greek Cypriot administration.

In response, Turkey signed an oil and gas exploration deal with the Turkish Cypriots and sent a Turkish research ship to the Mediterranean to start exploration. The breakaway Turkish Cypriot state is only recognized by Turkey.

The Turkish research ship, Koca Piri Reis, began its exploration Monday, but Turkish and Turkish Cypriot officials refused to reveal the ship’s exact location.

Cyprus licensed U.S.-based Noble Energy Inc. to search for oil and gas near recently discovered Israeli offshore fields that contain more than 15.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.



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