December 4, 2012

World Dispatches

MANILA, Philippines

Typhoon Bopha's approach prompts thousands to flee

Thousands of villagers fled from their homes as a strong typhoon roared closer to the southern Philippines, prompting authorities to suspend sea travel in high-risk areas and halt gold-mining in a mountain town notorious for deadly landslides.

The day before the storm's forecast Tuesday morning landfall, President Benigno Aquino III appeared on nationwide TV to appeal to people in Typhoon Bopha's path to move to safety and take storm warnings seriously.

"This typhoon is not a joke," Aquino said Monday. "It could be the strongest to hit the country this year," he said.

The storm was approaching from the Pacific Ocean with sustained winds of 109 miles per hour and gusts of up to 130 mph. Its eye was last tracked Monday evening at 242 miles southeast of Surigao del Sur province's Hinatuan township.

Bopha, which has a 373-mile-wide rain band, was expected to barrel across southern and central provinces before blowing out into the South China Sea on Thursday.

SANA'A, Yemen

Report details rights abuses during al-Qaida's takeover

Al-Qaida committed "horrific" rights abuses during its 16 months in power in southern Yemen, Amnesty International charged in a report released Tuesday, documenting the beheading of an alleged sorcerer, crucifixion of a man accused of spying and amputation of a man's hand for stealing.

The rights abuses between February 2011 and June 2012, when al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula's affiliate Ansar al-Shariah took over parts of southern Yemen, resulted in "a human rights catastrophe," according to the London-based rights group.

The report also accuses Yemen's government of abuses.

Al-Qaida's takeover of large swaths of territory in southern Yemen was the first time the group has governed entire towns and cities.

The 57-page report, titled "Conflict in Yemen: Abyan's Darkest Hour," documents some of the violations during the conflict between Yemeni government forces and Ansar al-Shariah. It also sheds light on how al-Qaida militants ran government affairs.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands

Soccer linesman dies a day after youths beat, kick him

A Dutch man working as a linesman during his son's youth soccer match was beaten and kicked by several soccer players after the game and died the next day.

Richard Nieuwenhuizen collapsed and was rushed to the hospital hours after players from Amsterdam club Nieuw Sloten punched and kicked him. Nieuwenhuizen's club, Buitenboys, said the 41-year-old linesman died Monday evening but did not announce the exact cause of death.

Three players, ages 15-16, were arrested earlier Monday for alleged involvement in the beating Sunday in the town of Almere.

VATICAN CITY

Pontiff will start tweeting in eight languages Dec. 12

Benedict XVI, the pope known for his hefty volumes of theology and lengthy encyclicals, is now trying brevity -- spreading the faith through his own Twitter account.

The pontiff will tweet in eight languages starting Dec. 12 using his personal handle @Pontifex, responding live to questions about faith during his weekly general audience, the Vatican said Monday.

Within 10 hours of the Vatican's announcement, Benedict had already garnered nearly a quarter-million followers on the English version alone.

--From news service reports

 

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