PHILIPPINES
Monster typhoon slams into coast

Typhoon Mangkhut slammed into the country’s northeastern coast early Saturday, with witnesses saying ferocious winds and blinding rain ripped off tin roofs and knocked out power at the start of the onslaught.

The typhoon made landfall before dawn in the coastal town of Baggao in Cagayan province on the northern tip of Luzon island, an agricultural region of rice plains and mountain provinces often hit by landslides.

More than 5 million people are at risk from the storm, which the Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center categorizes as a super typhoon with powerful winds and gusts equivalent to a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane.

There were no immediate reports of major damage or casualties in the region.

The typhoon could bring heavy to intense rain that could set off landslides and flash floods. Storm warnings have been raised in almost all the provinces across the main northern island of Luzon, including the capital, Manila.

— Associated Press

SAUDI ARABIA
Houthi ballistic missile reported destroyed

Yemen’s armed Houthi movement said it launched a ballistic missile toward a Saudi Aramco oil refinery Friday, but Saudi air defense forces said they had intercepted and destroyed the projectile.

The Houthis’ al-Masirah TV said Houthi forces had targeted a refinery in Jizan, southwestern Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi state news agency quoted the spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen as saying the missile had been heading for residential areas and had been intercepted over Jizan.

The Houthis say their attacks on the kingdom are in retaliation for air raids on Yemen by the Western-backed coalition, which entered Yemen’s war in 2015.

— Reuters

BRAZIL
Japan's bid to reinstate whaling is defeated

Members of the International Whaling Commission defeated a Japanese proposal to reinstate commercial whaling at a meeting Friday in Brazil.

The commission suspended commercial whaling in the 1980s, but Japan argued that stocks have recovered enough for the ban to be lifted and that there’s no good reason to maintain a measure that was meant to be temporary. It has repeatedly tried to lift the ban.

Other nations argued that many whale populations are still vulnerable and that whaling is increasingly seen as wrong.

After the vote, Japan suggested that it would reconsider its membership in the international body.

— Associated Press

3 Palestinians reported killed at Gaza border: Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinians, one of them an 11-year-old boy, and wounded at least 248 others taking part Friday in weekly protests at the Gaza border, Palestinian medical officials said. The Israeli military said it used force necessary to repel 13,000 Palestinians who massed at several points along the fence. Some hurled rocks, firebombs and grenades at troops, and nine Palestinians briefly crossed into Israel, the military said.

Dutch ousted 2 Russians for alleged hacking attempt: Dutch authorities arrested and expelled two suspected Russian spies months ago for allegedly trying to hack a Swiss laboratory that conducts chemical weapons tests, Switzerland confirmed as it summoned the Russian ambassador to protest an "attempted attack." Moscow quickly rejected the accusation. The alleged target was the Spiez Laboratory, which analyzed samples from the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England.

— From news services