Mayon Volcano alert raised
Local authorities warned yesterday that Mayon Volcano is showing signs of life and could erupt again soon. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said it was raising the 2,460m mountain’s alert status to “moderate unrest” from that of “low-level unrest.” Nearby residents were reminded not to venture into a “permanent danger zone” in a 6km radius from the crater. The zone was also extended to 7km on its southeast flank, which faces Legazpi, a city of 160,000 people. “This alert condition signifies a state of unrest which could lead to ash explosions or eventually to hazardous magmatic eruption,” the institute said.
Singapore tycoon finds son
An ecstatic Singaporean millionaire thinks he has discovered his son in Malaysia after putting out an appeal to be reunited with his long-lost family, a report said yesterday. “I found him! I found him!” Yak Eng Wai, 62, told the Star newspaper after speaking by telephone to a man who was able to provide accurate family details to confirm that he was his 37-year-old son, Ah Teck. Spokesman Tung Kong Ming of the Malaysian Chinese Association, which had publicized Yak’s appeal, said the man had to furnish identification papers to support his claims, but that the wealthy tycoon appeared convinced.
Family killed in landslide
A landslide killed a family of five in their homes in West Java province yesterday, police said. The family was killed in the early morning after a cliff collapsed on two houses in Cijeruk district near Bogor city, local police chief Aditiawarman said. “Five people were killed. Two children, an 18-year-old woman, a mother and a grandmother,” he said. “The father survived as he was returning from the mosque after morning prayers [when the landslide happened],” he said. “There was no rain or strong wind whatsoever. It happened all of a sudden early in the morning around 5:30am.”
Police arrest ‘drug mules’
Police have seized almost 5kg of methamphetamines and detained three women — a Thai and two Indonesians— believed to be couriers for an international drug ring, the official Bernama news agency reported yesterday. The trio were arrested on Tuesday during a raid at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, where police discovered the drugs said to be worth 1.25 million ringgit (US$338,000), city police chief Muhammad Sabtu Osman said. “The syndicate was using Malaysia as a transit point before the drugs were smuggled to Indonesia and Thailand,” Bernama quoted Mohammad Sabtu as saying.
US warns of El Nino’s return
US scientists on Thursday said that the El Nino warming trend of the Pacific Ocean waters has returned, bringing with it almost certain changes in weather patterns around the world. The El Nino climatological effect occurs on average every two to five years and typically lasts about 12 months. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a statement that the current El Nino was likely to develop further during the next several months, with additional strengthening possible and is expected to last through early next year. The weather system often brings damaging winter storms in California and turbulent weather across the southern US. It has also been associated with severe flooding and mudslides in Central and South America and drought in Indonesia.