World Digest: Nov. 22, 2013

PHILIPPINES

Typhoon death toll rises above 5,000

The death toll from one of the strongest typhoons on record has risen above 5,000 and is likely to climb further, although recovery efforts are beginning to take hold, Philippine officials said Friday.

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said 4,919 people were killed on Leyte, Samar and nearby islands in the Eastern Visayas region. Civil defense chief Eduardo del Rosario said 290 others died elsewhere in the central and southern Philippines.

The regions were battered two weeks ago by fierce winds and tsunami-like storm surges from Typhoon Haiyan, know locally as Yolanda. Del Rosario said 1,611 people are missing.

Most of the bodies, many of them unidentified, have been buried in mass graves, Roxas said. Journalists in Leyte’s hard-hit capital, Tacloban, say the stench from piles of debris and remnants of homes indicates that bodies remain underneath.

— Associated Press

PAKISTAN

Doctor who aided CIA charged with murder

A Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden has been charged with murder over a 2006 surgery he performed, his attorney said Friday, raising new doubts about whether the physician will regain his freedom.

Shakil Afridi is in prison pending retrial on a separate charge, despite demands by U.S. officials that he be released. The case has caused friction between Pakistan and the United States, complicating a relationship that Washington views as vital to fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda as well as negotiating an end to the war in neighboring Afghanistan.

The murder charge stems from a complaint over a teenage boy who died after Afridi performed surgery on him for appendicitis in 2006 in Pakistan’s remote Khyber tribal area.

Afridi was convicted in May 2012 of “conspiring against the state” and sentenced to 33 years in prison. His conviction was related to allegations that he provided money and medical treatment to Islamist militants in Khyber, not for helping the CIA track down bin Laden. The doctor’s family and the militants denied the allegations. Afridi has been granted a retrial on a legal issue.

— Associated Press

LATVIA

Scores reported dead in store roof collapse

Crowds of shoppers were picking up food after work at a supermarket in the Latvian capital Thursday when an enormous section of the roof caved in. Firefighters rushed to save them, only to be crushed themselves when a second part of the roof collapsed.

The death toll at the Maxima supermarket in Riga rose to 47 Friday, including three firefighters, police said. Thirty-five people were reported injured, including 10 firefighters.

— Associated Press

Russia rejects court order to release Greenpeace ship and crew: Russia said an international maritime tribunal that ruled against it in a case brought by the Netherlands had no jurisdiction over its criminal prosecution of 30 people arrested for a Greenpeace protest over Arctic oil drilling. The Russian Foreign Ministry issued the statement after the Hamburg-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea said it had accepted a Dutch request to order the provisional release of the Dutch-registered ship Arctic Sunrise and its crew.

Chinese media report test of stealth drone: China’s first unmanned stealth drone made its first test flight, state media reported, showing photos and video. The tailless delta-wing drone was identified as the Lijian, or “Sharp Sword,” an aircraft similar to the X-47B drone being tested by the U.S. Navy for aircraft carrier operations, as well as France’s experimental Neuron project. Potential uses range from conducting electronic surveillance to launching missile strikes.

Two killed amid Islamist protests in Egypt: Clashes erupted Friday as thousands of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood held protests in Cairo and other Egyptian cities to mark the passage of 100 days since the start of a bloody crackdown against the group after the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. The violence left two dead, including a 10-year-old boy.

Norwegian clinches chess title: The world of chess has a new king: a 22-year-old who is as comfortable posing for fashion shoots as he is pushing pawns. Magnus Carlsen of Norway won the world championship by defeating defending champion Viswanathan Anand, 43, in Chennai, India.

— From news services

 
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