Philippines races to free 30 trapped in landslide; typhoon kills 7

Typhoon Yutu slammed into the Philippines on October 30 with fierce winds that sheared off roofs and snapped trees in half, after thousands were evacuated ahead of the powerful storm’s arrival. (AFP)
Updated 31 October 2018
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Philippines races to free 30 trapped in landslide; typhoon kills 7

  • Typhoon Yutu swept across the main island of Luzon on Tuesday with winds of 140 km per hour before exiting the land in the evening
  • Six of those killed died in landslides and another drowned in an overflowing river

MANILA: Philippine rescue teams worked to free at least 30 people trapped under earth and rubble on Wednesday after a typhoon dumped heavy rainfall on a mountainous region, triggering floods and deadly landslides.
Soldiers and disaster agency personnel managed to pass through blocked roads to reach the remote area during the night in northern Mountain Province, where a building owned by the local highways department was engulfed by an avalanche of earth.
A dead body was recovered from the site, one of seven people killed on Tuesday in four provinces in the Cordillera region, said Ruben Carandang, director of its civil defense office.
Typhoon Yutu swept across the main island of Luzon on Tuesday with winds of 140 km per hour (87 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 230 kph (142 mph), before exiting the land in the evening.
It came six weeks after super typhoon Mangkhut caused nearly 50 landslides in the Cordilleras, killing more than 70 people.
“In the pictures sent to me this morning, the building was not flattened. There were doors open. There are open spaces,” Carandang said by phone.
“There is a possibility there are people still alive. They will not die if they were not crushed.”
The disaster agency said 20 laborers, an engineer, three security guards and six or seven residents sheltering from the typhoon were inside.
Six of those killed in the Cordillera region died in landslides and another drowned in an overflowing river. Four of the dead were children aged between 5 and 11.
Radio reported a man was electrocuted in Isabela province, where Yutu made landfall. The national disaster agency reported no confirmed casualties on Wednesday but said seven people were “affected” by landslides.
Thousands of people in the typhoon’s path were evacuated before the storm hit, mostly in mountainous, coastal and river areas at risk of floods, storm surges and mudslides.
When it struck the Philippines, Yutu’s winds were half the strength of those it packed five days earlier, when as a super typhoon it piled into the US Northern Mariana islands, about 6,000 km (3,700 miles) west of Hawaii, killing one person, wounding more than 130 and damaging critical infrastructure.
Yutu, the 18th typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, was moving toward southern China on Wednesday and had weakened to a tropical storm with winds of 102 kph (63 mph) and gusts of 130 kph (81 mph), according to the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii.


UK court rejects case brought by mother of Daesh 'Beatle'

Updated 2 min 55 sec ago
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UK court rejects case brought by mother of Daesh 'Beatle'

  • El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey are being held by Kurdish militia after being captured in Syria last year
  • United States wants to extradite them and Britain has said it will not stand in the way

LONDON: The mother of one of the British Daesh militants suspected of murdering western hostages, lost a legal challenge on Friday that it was wrong for Britain to assist a US investigation which could lead to them facing the death penalty.
Britons El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey — two of a notorious group of British fighters nicknamed “The Beatles” — are being held by Kurdish militia after being captured in Syria last year.
The United States wants to extradite them and Britain has said it will not stand in the way of any future US prosecution that would seek the death penalty, waiving a long-standing objection to executions.
Elsheikh’s mother, Maha El Gizouli, had sought a judicial review, saying it was unlawful for Britain’s interior minister to provide mutual legal assistance in a case which could lead to prosecutions for offenses which carried the death penalty.
Her lawyers said the minister’s actions were flawed, inconsistent with Britain’s unequivocal opposition to the death penalty and violated her son’s human rights. However, London’s High Court disagreed and dismissed her claim.
“My priority has always been to ensure we deliver justice for the victims’ families and that the individuals suspected of these sickening crimes face prosecution as quickly as possible,” Home Secretary Sajid Javid said.
“Our long-standing opposition to the death penalty has not changed. Any evidence shared with the US in this case must be for the express purpose of progressing a federal prosecution.”
The most notorious of the four of the so-called Beatles was Mohammed Emwazi, known as “Jihadi John,” who is believed to have been killed in a US-British missile strike in 2015.
He became a public face of Daesh and appeared in videos showing the murders of US journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, US aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto and other hostages.
“This group of terrorists is associated with some of the most barbaric crimes committed during the conflict in Syria,” Graeme Biggar, Director of National Security at Britain’s interior ministry, said in a written statement to the court.
Britain has said it does not want the men repatriated to the United Kingdom and their British citizenship has been withdrawn.
British prosecutors concluded they did not have the evidence to launch their own case against the men but US officials then expressed frustration with the British stance of seeking an assurance that US prosecutors would not call for the death penalty, court documents showed.
However, last June, British ministers and senior officials decided the best way of ensuring a prosecution and to protect US relations was to seek no such assurance in this case.
That decision provoked criticism from opposition lawmakers and from some in the government’s own party who accused ministers of secretly abandoning Britain’s opposition to the death penalty.