Wed, Dec 16, 2009 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■FIJI

Cyclone kills three

Cyclone Mick unleashed flooding and triggered power outages across the island country and forced the evacuation of thousands on Monday, authorities said yesterday. Many resorts lay in the path of the region’s first cyclone of the southern summer. Extensive flooding still affected many parts of the most populated island of Viti Levu yesterday as the weakening cyclone moved away to the Lau group of islands to the southeast. Officials said more than 3,800 people fled their homes on Monday night as Mick slammed into Viti Levu with gusts of up to 150kph. The cyclone was heading toward Tonga, where it could bring strong gales today, meteorologists said.

■JAPAN

US base decision delayed

The government delayed a decision yesterday on where to move a controversial US military air base from Okinawa, drawing out a festering three-month-long row with Washington. The Kyodo News agency said the Cabinet would not reach a decision on the issue until next year. The base was due to be moved from a city area to a coastal region of Okinawa by 2014. Since coming to power in September, the government led by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s Democratic Party of Japan has angered US officials by saying it would review the 2006 base relocation pact. Hatoyama has said the base could be moved off the island or even out of the country.

■PHILIPPINES

Mayon stirs evacuation

Authorities moved thousands of villagers from harm’s way near the Mayon volcano yesterday after it oozed lava and shot plumes of ash, and said they probably will spend a bleak Christmas in an evacuation center. State volcanologists raised the alert level on the cone-shaped, 2,460m volcano overnight to two steps below eruption after ash explosions and dark orange lava fragments glowing in the dark trickled down the mountain slope. Nearly 50,000 people live in a 8km radius around the mountain. “Whatever the volcano does, our target is zero casualty,” Albay provincial Governor Joey Salceda said. “It’s 10 days before Christmas. Most likely people will be in evacuation centers, and if Mayon’s activity won’t ease down we will not allow them to return to their homes,” he said. “It’s difficult and sad, especially for children.”

■PHILIPPINES

Manila car blast kills one

A car exploded in an upscale district of Manila yesterday, killing one person, police said. “We have a report that one person was killed in the car blast,” police spokesman Chief Superintendent Leonardo Espina said, adding the cause of the explosion near a high-end shopping mall was not immediately clear. The car had just entered the basement car park of a plush high-rise apartment in Taguig district when it blew up, police and witnesses said. Iinitial investigations showed the victim was a businessman who owned one of the shops at the mall opposite the building.

■MALAYSIA

Thai bombmakers arrested

Police arrested three Thais who allegedly produced homemade explosives and are investigating whether they have links to a Muslim insurgency in southern Thailand, an official and a news report said yesterday. Authorities detained the three suspects and seized devices believed to be homemade explosives from a house in northern Kelantan state, near the border with Thailand, a police official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements.

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