World news briefs: 11/9/13

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Storm kills 100 in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines -- One of the strongest storms on record slammed into the central Philippines, killing more than 100 people whose bodies lay in the streets of one of the hardest-hit cities.

A top official of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said today that more than 100 others were injured in the city of Tacloban on Leyte Island, where Typhoon Haiyan hit Friday.

Nearly 750,000 people were forced to flee their homes, and damage was believed to be extensive.

Weather officials said Haiyan had sustained winds of 147 mph with gusts of 170 mph when it made landfall. Haiyan was comparable to a strong Category 4 hurricane in the U.S., nearly in the top category, a 5. Hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons are the same thing but are just called different names in different parts of the world.

Anti-terrorist bill passed

ISLAMABAD -- After a decade of terrorist attacks, Pakistan is implementing a new legal framework to deal with its growing militant threat -- what some are calling a local version of the USA Patriot Act.

The government says the measure will improve an anti-terrorism effort plagued by inefficiency and abuses. At times, security forces have swept up thousands of suspected Islamist militants without charge, outraging human rights activists. When terrorism suspects do go before a judge, however, they are often freed, dismaying Western officials.

The ordinance formally defines an enemy combatant, clarifies the powers of the army to intervene in internal security, establishes new federal courts, offers additional protections to judges and codifies the use of extended detention.

Polio threatens Europe

GENEVA -- Polio, the crippling virus driven to the brink of extinction, may return to Europe as regional conflicts undermine a $10 billion eradication campaign.

Polio's re-appearance in Syria last month after a 14 year absence raises the risk that the virus will hitch a ride on unsuspecting refugees fleeing the country and return to areas, including Europe, that have been polio-free for decades, according to a letter published in the The Lancet medical journal Friday.

Full disclosure still elusive

TORONTO -- Canada's biggest energy companies including Suncor Energy Inc. and Imperial Oil Ltd. are trailing global peers in reporting environmental performance as scrutiny of the oil sands intensifies.

The 10 largest Canadian oil and natural gas producers by market value scored an average 31.7 out of 100 on environmental- performance disclosures in 2011, the last year with information for all companies, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Environmental Disclosure Scores weigh information such as emissions, spills and water use.

The Canadian scores lag behind those of some of their largest U.S. and European competitors.

Arafat's death unexplained

RAMALLAH, West Bank -- Four investigations, hundreds of testimonies and stacks of medical reports on Yasser Arafat's unexplained death in 2004 have failed to produce hard evidence of what killed him -- and findings presented Friday only created more confusion.

Palestinian officials said a report they received from Russia on the role of radioactive polonium in Arafat's death was inconclusive. They spoke just a day after Swiss scientists said the Palestinian leader was probably poisoned by the rare and extremely lethal substance.


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