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At least 26 people were killed while several residents were missing in an island province in central Philippines after tropical storm Kai-tak brought heavy rains that triggered landslides, local authorities and media said on Sunday. Kai-tak cut power supplies in many areas, forced the cancellation of several flights, stranded more than 15,000 people in various ports in the region and prompted nearly 88,000 people to seek shelter in evacuation centers. The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office of Biliran island said 26 residents had died, but the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has yet to make any official announcement about fatalities.
The Pentagon has admitted it ran a secret programme tasked with investigating sightings of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs. Although the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Programme ended five years ago, when US defence officials shifted attention and funding to other priorities, it remains unclear if it has continued to investigate sightings of mysterious vehicles. Most of the money went to an aerospace research company ran by Robert Bigelow, a billionaire entrepreneur and longtime friend of Mr Reid.
Without Manigault-Newman, Trump appears to have no black senior advisers in public-facing White House roles. The departure of the former Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault-Newman from the White House this week has placed the lack of diversity in Donald Trump’s administration under renewed scrutiny. Manigault-Newman, the highest-ranking black person to work in the West Wing under Trump, abruptly left her post as a special assistant to the president on Wednesday.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — In a story Dec. 15 about deadly Israeli-Palestinian violence, The Associated Press erroneously referred to Jerusalem's Western Wall as Judaism's holiest site. The Western Wall is the holiest site where Jews can pray, while the neighboring hilltop compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism.
Argentina dismissed its naval chief on Saturday, the most high-profile officer to be fired a month after a submarine went missing with 44 crew members on board. It's a political decision," a navy officer told AFP on condition of anonymity about the decision to remove Admiral Marcelo Srur during an ongoing investigation into the sub's disappearance. Srur is the fifth senior officer to have been relieved of his functions so far over the ARA San Juan's disappearance.
Pope Francis celebrated his 81st birthday Sunday with a hero cake and a message urging the world -- and children in particular -- to join in the holiday mood and be joyful. The Argentine pontiff thanked the crowds gathered in Saint Peter's Square for the Angelus prayer as they sang happy birthday, and was expected to slice into his birthday cake after lunch. The artist -- whose real name is Mauro Pallotta -- famously depicted Francis as Superman in 2014 and has since begun supporting Vatican charitable projects by selling T-shirts bearing the flying pope.
Brazilian builder Odebrecht [ODBES.UL] said Saturday that its recently-disclosed business ties to embattled Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski were not part of the corrupt deals it struck with politicians that it has acknowledged to prosecutors. The assertion might strengthen Kuczynski's bid to survive a vote to remove him from office on Thursday in the opposition-ruled Congress over allegations he took bribes from Odebrecht, which is at the center of Latin America's biggest graft scandal. Earlier this week, Odebrecht sent Congress a requested report detailing deposits totaling $4.8 million that it paid to two companies owned by Kuczynski or a close business associate of his for financial and advising services.
America's leading public health institute has reportedly been told not to use words including "science-based" and "transgender". The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was instructed by the Trump administration not to use seven words in its documents for next year's budget, the Washington Post reported. The other words were said to have been - evidence-based, foetus, diversity, vulnerable, entitlement. In some cases CDC officials were reportedly supplied with alternatives, with a substitute phrase for "science-based" being "CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes". An analyst at the CDC told the Washington Post staff there were "incredulous". The analyst said: “It was very much 'Are you serious? Are you kidding?'" Michael Halpern, deputy director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' Center for Science and Democracy, said: "Actions that divert the agency from its grounding in science could compromise the progress they are making in tracking opioid overdoses, reducing teen pregnancy, protecting the elderly from the flu, and slowing HIV transmission among transgender Americans." The Trump administration has previously been accused of seeking to substitute the phrase "weather extremes" for "climate change" at the Department of Agriculture. Gwen Moore, a Democrat congresswoman, said: "This is deeply disturbing and offensive."
By Suleiman Al-Khalidi AMMAN (Reuters) - Sabih al-Masri, Jordan's most influential businessman and the chairman of its largest lender Arab Bank, was detained in Saudi Arabia for questioning after a business trip to Riyadh, family sources and friends said on Saturday. Masri's detention, which follows the biggest purge of the Saudi kingdom's affluent elite in its modern history, has sent shockwaves through business circles in Jordan and the Palestinian territories, where the billionaire has major investments. A Saudi citizen of Palestinian origin, Masri was detained last Tuesday hours before he was planning to leave after he chaired meetings of companies he owns, according to the sources.
When it comes to cities and urbanization, it is generally thought that bigger is better. But a pair of recent studies suggests that although industrialized nations may have benefited from larger cities, the same is not true for the rapidly urbanizing areas of the developing world. In these parts of the globe, there really might be such a thing as too much urbanization, too quickly.
In what has become a grim ritual, Tony Jenkins examines the mutilated remains of a domestic cat -- and says the south London serial killer has struck once again. Nobody is surprised when Jenkins, the co-founder of Snarl, a local animal rescue and rehabilitation shelter, arrives at a veterinary surgery to confirm the grisly find. In the last two years, Snarl has identified more than 400 suspected victims: mostly cats, but also some foxes and rabbits.
The U.S. Marine Corps is arguably the best amphibious-warfare force in the world. The issue is that relentless overseas commitments have strained marine resources so badly that it can’t conduct the other training that it needs to maintain its combat edge. A review of readiness data from 2014 to 2016 revealed that “Marine Corps units were unable to fully accomplish training for other amphibious operations priorities,” according to the GAO report.
An estimated 40,000 people traveled from around the world to take up arms for the Islamic State group as it occupied territory in Syria and Iraq and declared a caliphate in 2014. How many have gone elsewhere to fight?" said Seth Jones, director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the Rand Corporation. International counterterror groups are putting huge efforts into answering those questions, working hard to name, count and track IS foreign fighters.
Europe's far-right leaders including Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders will gather for a controversial conference in Prague on Saturday held under tight security amid protests planned to counter groups spreading xenophobia. Allied within the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF), a European Parliament group established two years ago, the parties -- espousing strong anti-migrant and anti-EU views -- say they plan to focus on cooperation within Europe outside EU bodies at the conference. Le Pen, who lost the French presidential election run-off to Emmanuel Macron in May, and Wilders, head of the Dutch Party for Freedom, will sit next to Lorenzo Fontana from Italy's Lega Nord or Georg Mayer from the Austrian FPO.
Senators Marco Rubio and Bob Corker had both expressed reservations about the landmark legislation, but they said they were now on board. Mr Corker, a Tennessee Republican who has feuded publicly with Donald Trump, said he would back the legislation despite concerns about the measure inflating the deficit. A Congressional Budget Office analysis of a version of the legislation found it would add some $1.4 trillion to the deficit, but supporters argue surging economic growth would offset that.
A South Florida law professor, running to unseat Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is calling for a federal investigation into the destruction of all ballots cast in the August 2016 Democratic primary in Broward County. The challenger, Tim Canova, has made repeated public records requests and filed a lawsuit seeking access to paper ballots cast in his unsuccessful race last year against the former Democratic National Committee chair in Florida’s 23rd congressional district. Over the past year, the Broward supervisor of elections, Dr. Brenda Snipes, has taken no action on Mr. Canova’s requests to examine the ballots, and she has urged a judge to throw Canova’s lawsuit out.