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Friday, November 8, 2013

Typhoon Hayan Batters the Philippines

Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, hit the Philippines overnight with winds reaching 320 km/h, killing at least three people and injuring many others in its path. Two of the deceased were electrocuted in storm-related incidents while the third person was killed by a lightning bolt. Local authorities say the numbers could rise after the full damage is assessed. “We expect the level of destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan to be extensive and devastating, and sadly we fear that many lives will be lost”, said Anna Lindenfors, Philippines director for the Save the Children NGO. Schools and offices were closed while local flights and ferry services were suspended for the duration of the storm’s passage. The country had already suffered the passage of Typhoon Bopha last year, which killed 1,100 people and caused extensive damages.

Kerry in Geneva to ‘Narrow Differences’ With Iran

US Secretary of State John Kerry made an unplanned visit to Geneva on Friday to join nuclear talks with Iran, increasing hopes that a solution to the decade-long impasse over the country’s nuclear programme could be imminent. “There are important gaps that have to be closed. I want to emphasize: there is not an agreement at this point in time. There are still some important issues on the table that are unresolved”, he said on arrival in Switzerland before heading to a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javaz Zarif and the EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met Kerry before he flow to Geneva, called any potential agreement “a bad deal”. “The deal that is being discussed in Geneva right now is a bad deal. Iran is not required to take apart even one centrifuge. But the international community is relieving sanctions on Iran for the first time after many years. I urge Secretary Kerry not to rush to sign, to wait, to reconsider, to get a good deal”, he said.

Terror Suspect Broke Restrictions Before

Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed, the terror suspect who absconded after changing into a burqa in a West London mosque on November 1, had already breached orders restricting his movements 20 times before he fled. He failed to report to the Acton police station from December 22 to December 25 and again from December 27 to December 28 in 2012, as well as breaching another 2011 control order 14 times, including not reporting to a monitoring company, not presenting himself to a police station in Ipswich, meeting a person without Home Office approval and using an unauthorised mobile phone. Home Secretary Theresa May insisted on Monday that Mohamed “does not pose a direct threat to the public in the UK”, despite being said to have received terrorist training in Somalia.

Nissan Boss Warns UK Over EU Exit

Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn has suggested that his company, the UK’s biggest carmaker, would consider leaving the country if it left the European Union. He was speaking in Sunderland, where Nissan employs 6,500 workers, and told the BBC that the company could reconsider “our strategy and investments for the future” if voters decided to leave the EU. Meanwhile, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Toshiyuki Shiga, said that “the UK is part of the European Union, [that] is very important. From the foreign investor point of view I hope that the UK will remain as an EU member. If the UK – after departing from the EU – is making unique regulations, unique standards, this would become an obstacle. If the EU side places import duty from the UK, that would be a big obstacle”.

Weekend Read: The Prix Goncourt

A short history of France’s top literary prize, the Prix Goncourt. The winner takes home all of €10, book sales shoot up almost immediately and only eight women have won it in its 110-year history. In the Times Literary Supplement.

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