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 Cabinet to meet after Britain, EU reach draft Brexit deal

Updated 13 November 2018
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UK Cabinet to meet after Britain, EU reach draft Brexit deal

LONDON: Negotiators from Britain and the European Union have struck a proposed divorce deal that will be presented to politicians on both sides for approval, officials in London and Brussels said Tuesday.
After a year and a half of stalled talks, false starts and setbacks, negotiators agreed on proposals to resolve the main outstanding issue: the Irish border.
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said the Cabinet would hold a special meeting Wednesday to consider the proposal. Its support isn’t guaranteed: May is under pressure from pro-Brexit ministers not to make further concessions to the EU.
Ambassadors from the 27 other EU countries are also due to hold a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday.
May told the Cabinet earlier Tuesday that “a small number” of issues remain to be resolved in divorce negotiations with the European Union, while her deputy, David Lidington, said the two sides are “almost within touching distance” of a Brexit deal.
Britain wants to seal a deal this fall, so that Parliament has time to vote on it before the UK leaves the bloc on March 29. The European Parliament also has to approve any agreement.
Negotiators have been meeting late into the night in Brussels in a bid to close the remaining gaps.
The main obstacle has long been how to ensure there are no customs posts or other checks along the border between the UK’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland after Brexit.
Irish national broadcaster RTE said the draft agreement involves a common customs arrangement for the UK and the EU, to eliminate the need for border checks.
But May faces pressure from pro-Brexit Cabinet members not to agree to an arrangement that binds Britain to EU trade rules indefinitely.
May also faces growing opposition from pro-EU lawmakers, who say her proposed Brexit deal is worse than the status quo and the British public should get a new vote on whether to leave or to stay.
If there is no agreement soon, UK businesses will have to start implementing contingency plans for a “no-deal” Brexit — steps that could include cutting jobs, stockpiling goods and relocating production and services outside Britain.
Even with such measures in place, the British government says leaving the EU without a deal could cause major economic disruption, with gridlock at ports and disruption to supplies of foods, goods and medicines.
On Tuesday, the European Commission published a sheaf of notices outlining changes in a host of areas in the event of a no-deal Brexit. They point to major disruption for people and businesses: UK truckers’ licenses won’t be valid in the EU, British airlines will no longer enjoy traffic rights, and even British mineral water will cease to be recognized as such by the EU.
The EU said Tuesday it was proposing visa-free travel for UK citizens on short trips, even if there is no deal — but only if Britain reciprocates.
“We need to prepare for all options,” EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said. On a deal, he said: “We are not there yet.”
Meanwhile, official figures suggest Brexit is already having an impact on the British workforce.
The Office for National Statistics said the number of EU citizens working in the country — 2.25 million— was down 132,000 in the three months to September from the year before. That’s the largest annual fall since comparable records began in 1997.
Most of the fall is due to fewer workers from eight eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004.
Jonathan Portes, professor of economics at King’s College London, said the prospect of Brexit “has clearly made the UK a much less attractive place for Europeans to live and work.”