Wed, Jan 19, 2011 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

PHILIPPINES

Heavy rain to continue

Hundreds of thousands of people already reeling from floods have been told to expect further heavy rains until March, authorities said yesterday, as the disaster death toll rose to 53. “There will be more rains in areas which should already be experiencing the dry season,” the national weather bureau’s spokeswoman Venus Valdemoro said. La Nina was partly responsible for the unseasonal downpours, she said. Heavier than normal rainfall is forecast for most of the country over the next three months, increasing the risk of flooding and landslides, especially in eastern regions, Valdemoro said. Heavy rains have swamped much of the country since late last month, with floods affecting nearly 1.6 million people, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

CHINA

Nine die in apartment fire

An apartment fire in the city of Wuhan has left at least nine people dead. The Xinhua news agency says the fire started late on Monday and was put out early yesterday. An unnamed fire official told Xinhua that most people escaped the four-story building. Fires are a hazard in the country as families try to stay warm. Officials with the State Council yesterday expressed concern about icy conditions in the southern part of the country.

SRI LANKA

Flood victims storm office

Hundreds of flood victims stormed a government office in one of the hardest-hit areas on Monday to demand that aid be distributed, police said. Heavy monsoon rains caused flooding across the island nation last week, killing at least 40 people and leaving 51,400 people in temporary shelters. Anger over the distribution of relief spilled over in Ariyampathi, near the eastern port of Batticaloa. Police rushed to the scene and the crowd left after officials promised to deliver the aid, police spokesman Prishanth Jayakody said. He declined to say how many people were involved or whether anyone was injured.

PHILIPPINES

Medical visa on way in

Manila said yesterday it would introduce special medical visas for foreigners. The medical tourist visas, to be introduced this year, will allow foreigners to stay in the country for six months without having to apply for extensions as regular tourists are required to do, according to the Bureau of Immigration. “The visa will help the Philippines become competitive in the lucrative medical tourism market in Asia now dominated by Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand among others,” immigration bureau deputy head Ronaldo Ledesma reporters.

UNITED KINGDOM

‘Wife-beater’ recalled

New Delhi said yesterday it was recalling a senior envoy from Britain following reports that he assaulted his wife, but indicated it would not consider waiving his diplomatic immunity. The diplomat, named by media as Anil Verma, allegedly attacked his wife on Dec. 11 in an argument at their home in London, Britain’s Mail on Sunday reported. Police were called after neighbors heard his wife, Paromita Verma, scream and saw her run out into the street with blood streaming from her nose, the paper said. The envoy was reportedly angry because there was a Christmas tree in the house that had been given to the family by one of his wife’s relatives.

UNITED KINGDOM

Old whisky returns home

Three bottles of whisky abandoned in the Antarctic ice by British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton more than a century ago returned home to Scotland on Monday. The bottles of Mackinlay’s were part of a cache recovered last year beneath Shackleton’s Antarctic hut, built in 1908 as part of his failed attempt to reach the South Pole. They made it home on Monday to Whyte and Mackay, the brand’s owner, for analysis to see how they have fared after so long preserved in the polar chill. The wooden crate containing the whisky, marked “British Antarctic Expedition 1907,” was frozen solid in minus-30oC temperatures, but the whisky in the bottles was still liquid.

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