Philippines raises alert as super typhoon hurtles closer

A worker anchors the roof of a fuel station to a mixer truck as Super Typhoon Mangkhut approaches the city of Tuguegarao, Cagayan province, north of Manila. (AFP)
Updated 15 September 2018
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Philippines raises alert as super typhoon hurtles closer

  • By Friday evening, strong winds had already downed trees in Tuguegarao, a city in the north of Luzon, where almost all businesses had been shuttered
  • At least four million people are directly in Mangkhut’s path, which is predicted to move on to China’s heavily populated southern coast

MANILA: Thousands of people have fled from the path of Typhoon Mangkhut (local name Ompong) which picked up strength as it barreled toward the Philippines’ Cagayan region on Friday.
While the authorities said there is slim chance of Mangkhut becoming a super typhoon, it but warned “it is still a powerful and destructive typhoon.”
With maximum sustained winds of 205 kph near the center and gusts of up to 255 kph, Mangkhut further accelerated hours before it was expected to land in the Cagayan-Isabela area early on Saturday.
The authorities placed Cagayan and Isabela provinces under storm signal No. 4, while signal No. 3 was also raised in other parts of northern Luzon. Signal No. 4 means the area will experience winds of 171 kph to 220 kph, which can bring heavy damage to structures and agriculture, lift cars off the ground, uproot trees, and take the roof of a house, an official explained.
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council spokesperson Edgar Posadas said at least 2,298 families in regions affected by the storm have voluntarily evacuated since Thursday.
More residents are expected to move to safety as the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) called on governors, mayors and village heads in four regions in the north to immediately evacuate all residents living in landslide and flood prone areas.
Posadas said an estimated 5.2 million people are in the path of Mangkhut, with 983,100 considered to be below poverty line or most vulnerable to the effects of the typhoon.
The DILG urged local chief executives as heads of their Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (LDRRMCs) not to delay in issuing action plans to evacuate vulnerable residents.
“Times like this are when public services have to be most accountable, responsive and far-sighted,” said DILG spokesperson, Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya.
Officials have repeatedly warned that storm surges of up to six meters are likely in the coastal areas of Cagayan, Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte, as well as Ilocos Sur when the eye of Ompong is over Batanes.
“Every minute counts. Immediate evacuation should be to areas that are more than 10 meters above sea level, regardless of distance from the coastline,” Malaya advised.
Residents along riverbanks and landslide prone areas were also encouraged to evacuate their homes.
And with its huge diameter of 900km, officials said that many areas not directly affected by the storm can still experience heavy rains and strong winds.
“For those in Metro Manila, prepare for moderate to heavy rains due to Habagat (the summer monsoon) intensified by Ompong. Flooding is expected in the usual low-lying areas,” said Posadas.
Gusty winds with occasional moderate to heavy rains are expected over Visayas, while scattered light to moderate to at times heavy rains over Palawan, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao and CARAGA.
“Residents in these areas, especially those living near river channels, in low-lying areas and in mountainous areas, are advised to take appropriate action against possible flooding and landslides, coordinate with local disaster risk reduction and management offices, and to continue monitoring for updates,” PAGASA advised.
On Wednesday, President Rodrigo Duterte deployed some cabinet secretaries to areas that will most likely be hit by the typhoon to monitor the situations on the ground. “I cannot be everywhere and anywhere,” he said.
When asked by reporters if the government is willing to seek assistance from the international community, Duterte said: “It would depend on the severity of the crisis.”
“If it flattens everything, maybe we need to have some help. And if there are countries who are well-meaning... But it’s too early to speculate,” he added.
Mangkhut is expected move on from the Philippines on Sunday.


Moon says Kim agreed to allow nuke inspections

In this image made from video provided by Korea Broadcasting System (KBS), South Korean President Moon Jae-in, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pose after signing documents in Pyongyang, North Korea Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. (AP)
Updated 3 min 1 sec ago
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Moon says Kim agreed to allow nuke inspections

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have started their second day of summit talks in Pyongyang over the nuclear standoff and other inter-Korean issues
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has greeted South Korean President Moon Jae-in upon his arrival in Pyongyang for their third summit this year to improve ties and help resolve the nuclear standoff

PYONGYANG, North Korea: South Korean President Moon Jae-in says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has agreed to permanently dismantle a missile engine test site and a launch pad in the presence of international experts in what he described as a specific step toward denuclearization.
Moon also said on Wednesday that the North agreed to take further steps such as permanently dismantling its main Nyongbyon nuclear complex if the United States takes corresponding measures.
Moon and Kim spoke at a news conference after signing a joint statement following their second day of summit talks in Pyongyang.

The leaders of the two Koreas have signed a joint statement after their summit talks, but no details of what it said were released.
South Korean media pool footage shows South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signing the documents in Pyongyang on Wednesday.
The leaders posed for photos while displaying the documents.
Seoul says the two Koreans leaders are to jointly announce the results of their summit later Wednesday.
The defense chiefs of the two Koreas also signed their agreements that Seoul says are about reducing military tensions along the border.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have started their second day of summit talks in Pyongyang over the nuclear standoff and other inter-Korean issues.
Moon and Kim on Wednesday were seen talking as they stepped into a meeting room at Pyongyang’s Paekhwawon State Guesthouse.
They were accompanied by their wives and top government officials, including Moon’s national security adviser Chung Eui-yong and Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, who is seen as Kim’s closest confident and possibly the second-most powerful figure in his ruling regime.
Moon and Kim were expected to release a joint statement later on Wednesday.
North Korea’s state media says there was an “in-depth exchange of opinions on various issues” between the leaders during their first talks on Tuesday.

South Korea says President Moon Jae-in will attend a performance of North Korea’s iconic mass games following his second day of summit talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang.
Moon’s spokesman Yoon Young-chan said Wednesday he couldn’t confirm whether Kim will also attend the evening performance at Pyongyang’s May Day Stadium of tens of thousands of people working in unison.
Yoon says the performance of “The Glorious Country” will draw about 150,000 spectators.
Yoon says the Korean leaders will likely announce a joint statement following their summit talks earlier on Wednesday but will probably not take questions from reporters.
North Korea first staged its mass games in 2002, when Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, was the country’s leader. They continued almost without interruption on an annual basis until 2014, when they were not held at all.
The North brought back the mass games during its lavish celebrations for the 70th anniversary of its state founding earlier this month.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says his June summit with US President Donald Trump has stabilized the regional security situation.
South Korean media pool reports say Kim made the comment during a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
The reports say Kim thanked Moon for brokering his summit with Trump in Singapore.
The leaders of the two Koreas had their first in-depth talks in Pyongyang on Tuesday. The talks are to continue Wednesday and Moon is expected to return to Seoul on Thursday.

The leaders of the two Koreas have begun their summit talks on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and other issues.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in flew to Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, on Tuesday for his third summit of the year with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Moon’s office says the talks with Kim began at a ruling Workers’ Party building in Pyongyang.
It says two senior officials from both countries are also attending the meeting with the leaders.
Moon and Kim are to meet again on Wednesday.
Moon’s office says the summit will focus on how to achieve denuclearization, reduce military tensions between the Koreas and promote ties.

Britain’s top diplomat says it’s time for North Korea to take concrete actions toward eliminating its nuclear weapons.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Tuesday in Tokyo that dialogue has helped improve the atmosphere “but we need to see actions now.”
He spoke as South Korean President Moon Jae-in was visiting Pyongyang to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to try to revitalize the North’s denuclearization talks with the United States.
Hunt told The Associated Press that Britain is ready to relax economic sanctions on North Korea when there is concrete evidence of a change from the North Korean side.
He is in Japan to hold “strategic dialogue” talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are holding a car parade along Pyongyang streets.
The recorded South Korean media pool footage showed the two leaders aboard a convertible black limousine smiling and waving their hands as residents, many wearing colorful traditional handbook dresses, chanted and waved plastic flowers.
A convoy of sedans and motorcycles were the only other cars on the neatly manicured route.
Moon arrived Tuesday morning for a three-day visit. They’re holding their third summit and will attempt to improve ties and resolve a standoff in nuclear disarmament talks.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have arrived at a guesthouse in Pyongyang where they are expected to have talks over lunch.
Kim and Moon arrived at the Paekhwawon State Guesthouse in a black Mercedes convertible and were seen talking and adjusting their hair before stepping out of the backseat.
Their wives also reportedly shared a separate vehicle to the guesthouse.
The Paekwawon Guesthouse was also where former South Korean Presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun stayed during their summits with Kim’s father in 2000 and 2007.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has greeted South Korean President Moon Jae-in upon his arrival in Pyongyang for their third summit this year to improve ties and help resolve the nuclear standoff.
Moon and Kim embraced at the Sunan International Airport on Tuesday as thousands of North Koreans cheered and waved flowers, North Korean flags and a blue-and-white map symbolizing a unified peninsula.
Moon and Kim and their wives shook the hands of North Korean and South Korean officials before they were saluted by a North Korean ceremonial guard.
They then inspected goose-stepping soldiers, and Moon shook hands with North Korean civilians and bowed deeply to them.