Tropical storm Koppu leaves 20 dead in Philippines

Tropical storm Koppu leaves 20 dead in Philippines

A storm finally blew away from the main northern Philippine island today, after leaving at least 20 dead over the weekend and forcing 70,000 villagers into emergency shelters and destroying rice fields ready for harvest.

Disaster-response agencies said there was still a danger that rains dumped by Tropical Storm Koppu in mountain areas may flood rivers and put hundreds of downstream villages at risk.

Koppu was a typhoon when it blew ashore on Sunday, but it has weakened into a storm and was blowing today over the Luzon Strait with winds of 85 kilometers per hour. It was expected to weaken further, according to the government's weather bureau.

The sun briefly shone in flood-hit northern provinces, where villagers started to shovel away thick mud that had covered homes, roads and farmlands in the country's main rice- and vegetable-growing region.
At least 20 people were killed, mostly due to from drowning, landslides, fallen trees and collapsed walls. Several people were reported missing and more than 290,000 were affected by the storm, including 70,500 who fled to evacuation centers.

Koppu, Japanese for “cup,'' is the 12th storm this year to batter the Philippines.—AP

Indian Uber taxi rapist convicted
An Indian court has found an Uber driver guilty of raping a female passenger in his taxi in the Indian capital last year. 

The Press Trust of India says that Shiv Kumar Yadav was also convicted of criminal intimidation, kidnapping, and endangering the woman's life.

The 26-year old woman had hired the cab for a ride home from work.
The rape in December last year prompted widespread protests in India against sexual violence and led to demands for more effort to ensure women's safety.

The incident dealt a blow to Uber, which has attracted global popularity and controversy with a service that lets passengers summon cars through an app in more than 250 cities around the world. 

Sentencing is expected on Friday.—AP


Hamas official held in Ramallah for inciting violence

Israel has arrested a top Hamas official in the West Bank, accusing him of inciting recent violence.

The military says it arrested Hassan Yousef today near Ramallah. It marks the most high-profile arrest since a wave of unrest swept through the region a month ago.

(Pictured, a Palestinian demonstrator in Ramallah)
The military said Yousef had been “actively instigating and inciting terrorism'' by encouraging attacks against Israelis. Military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner says, “Hamas' leaders cannot expect to propagate violence and terror from the comfort of their living rooms and pulpits of their mosques.''

Yousef is a co-founder of Hamas whose son, Mosab, later spied for Israel between 1997 and 2007.

Over the past month, nine Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks, most of them stabbings. In that time, 41 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, including 20 labeled by Israel as attackers, and the rest in clashes with Israeli troops. An Eritrean migrant died after being shot and beaten by a mob that mistakenly believed he was a Palestinian attacker.—AP

Israelis destroy Palestinian assailant’s home

The Israeli military has demolished the home of a Palestinian who killed an Israeli woman last year.

The measure is one of the recent steps Israel has undertaken to counter a wave of attacks that have killed nine Israelis in the past month, mostly in stabbings. At least 41 Palestinians have been killed, including 20 identified by Israeli authorities as attackers. The rest died in clashes with Israeli forces.

(Pictured, students in the West Bank City of Hebron, mourn 17-year-old Bayan al-Osaily killed by a female Israeli soldier after she tried to stab her, according to Israeli security forces).

The military says forces demolished the residence of Maher Hashlamoun early today in Hebron. Last year, Hashlamoun rammed his car into 25-year-old Dalia Lemkus in the West Bank and stabbed her several times. Hashlamon was shot and killed.

Hashlamoun's wife told Palestinian radio that soldiers evacuated their three story building and demolished the third floor apartment where her family lived.

Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col Peter Lerner says the demolition “sends a clear message that there is a personal price to pay when you are involved in terror.''—AP


Three students kill Hunan elementary teacher

State media say three boys aged 11 to 13 attacked and killed a teacher and robbed her of a mobile phone and a few hundred dollars in cash in southern China.

The state-run Beijing News said the boys were hanging out around an elementary school in the township of Lianqiao in the province of Hunan on Sunday when they decided to rob the only teacher guarding the school.

It says the boys _ who are attending other schools _ beat the 52-year-old teacher with a wood stick, stuffed her mouth with cloth and dragged her into a bathroom, where she died. 

The report says the students ran away with the teacher's cell phone and about 2,000 yuan in cash (US$330).—AP


Israeli opposition leader calls for separation

Israel's opposition leader says the Israeli-Palestinian unrest that has rocked the country over the past month is providing a glimpse of the future if the Palestinians do not receive a state of their own.

Isaac Herzog told a conference in Tel Aviv today that “when you look at Jerusalem, you understand what a binational state looks like.'' He says the current situation can't continue, and that “separation between the people has to be implemented.''

He says Israeli leaders “can't keep living under this illusion that everything is fine and you can just manage the conflict.''—AP
Tropical storm Koppu leaves 20 dead in Philippines Tropical storm Koppu leaves 20 dead in Philippines Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 7:46 PM Rating: 5

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