MANILA, Philippines

Death toll rising as crews look for earthquake victims

Rescuers digging for survivors among dozens of people buried by earthquake-triggered landslides on a central Philippine island have found only bodies. The death toll climbed to 15 today, and at least 73 people were still missing.

Monday’s 6.9-magnitude earthquake also collapsed bridges and damaged roads on Negros Island, forcing soldiers and firefighters to hike mountains to reach remote villages. Most of the confirmed deaths were in Planas village, a part of Guihulngan town where some 30 houses were buried under concrete debris.

Guihulngan Mayor Ernesto Reyes said crews were using backhoes to try to rescue people, but he added that at the rate deaths were being reported, the town may run out of coffins.

The damage may be worse than officials realized because the quake cut off communications to some villages, Reyes said.

“We have no water and power because electric posts were toppled,” he said by phone. “Many of our roads were damaged, including bridges, and stores are closed. We’re isolated.”

Another hard-hit area was the mountain village of Solongon in La Libertad town, where an unknown number of people were trapped under some 100 houses.

President Benigno Aquino III ordered air force helicopters and navy and coast guard vessels to help rescuers.

BUCHAREST, Romania

Romanian government collapses after protests

Romania’s government has collapsed after weeks of protests against austerity measures, the latest debt-stricken government in Europe to fall in the face of raising public anger over biting cuts.

Emil Boc, who had been prime minister since 2008, said Monday he was resigning “to defuse political and social tension” and to make way for a new government.

Thousands of Romanians took to the streets in January to protest salary cuts, higher taxes and the widespread perception that the government was not interested in the public’s hardships.

President Traian Basescu quickly appointed Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu, the only Cabinet member unaffiliated with a political party, as interim prime minister to serve until a new government is approved.

CARSON CITY, Nev.

Fans bet $93.9 million on Patriots-Giants rematch

Sports fans bet $93.9 million at Nevada casinos on Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup between the New York Giants and New England Patriots, the most wagered in the past decade.

The Gaming Control Board says unaudited tallies show 184 sports books won a little over $5 million on the football action. New England was about a 3-point favorite, but the Giants won 21-17.

It was a different story for Nevada casinos when the same two teams played in the 2008 Super Bowl.

The Patriots opened as 14-point favorites four years ago, but Giants backers bet the line down to 12 points and got paid when New York earned a 17-14 win.

Nevada casinos lost the most money ever on the Super Bowl that year – $2.6 million.

CHICAGO

Flying in economy-class not linked to threat of clots

There’s no proof that flying economy-class increases your chances of dangerous blood clots, according to new guidelines from medical specialists.

Travelers’ blood clots have been nicknamed “economy class syndrome” but the new advice suggests this is a misnomer.

The real risk is not getting up and moving during long flights, whether flying coach or first-class. Sitting by a window seems to play a role, because it makes people less likely to leave their seats, the guidelines say.

Still, even on flights lasting at least four hours, the risk for most people is extremely low and not something to be alarmed about, said Dr. Gordon Guyatt, chairman of an American College of Chest Physicians’ committee that wrote the new guidelines. Flights lasting at least eight hours are riskiest, the guidelines say.

The guidelines were released online today  in the group’s journal, Chest.
 


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