Archive for the ‘flood’ Category

For U.S., Pragmatic Pair Chosen to Confront Terrorism Threat

December 2, 2008

Justice, Homeland Security picks have excellent credentials but not much direct experience.

By Carrie Johnson and Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, December 2, 2008; Page A11

In nominating former federal prosecutors to lead the departments of Justice and Homeland Security, President-elect Barack Obama yesterday selected two Democrats with sterling law-and-order credentials but less experience in detecting threats and gathering intelligence in the age of international terrorism.

Eric H. Holder Jr., the candidate to lead the Justice Department, served as the law enforcement agency’s second in command during the waning years of the Clinton administration, overseeing pursuits of violent crime, drug cartels and public corruption offenses. Janet Napolitano, who will run the sprawling Homeland Security bureaucracy, has served since 2003 as governor of Arizona, a border state at the forefront of the nation’s immigration debate.

U.S. Attorney General nominee Eric Holder listens as U.S. President-elect ... 
.S. Attorney General nominee Eric Holder listens as U.S. President-elect Barack Obama announces the nominees to staff his national security team, including Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) as his nominee for Secretary of State and Robert Gates to continue as Secretary of Defense during a news conference in Chicago December 1, 2008.REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES)

Yet neither nominee boasts much direct experience with the most significant and pressing counterterrorism matters that will cross their desks if they are confirmed by the Senate and take office after the January inauguration.

Among them: how to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and assess the danger of detainees; how to reorient a domestic wiretapping program once branded as unlawful even by some Bush administration insiders; whether to expend scarce resources prosecuting the intelligence officers and lawyers who developed the framework for policies that Democrats have roundly criticized; and how to prioritize and allocate resources toward the top domestic threats.

At a news conference in Chicago yesterday, Holder played down the tension between protecting American citizens and respecting civil liberties, signaling that he would work to achieve bipartisan consensus in Congress for policies to attack national security threats.

Napolitano promised that the new Obama team will coordinate across all levels of government to ensure a “fast, sound, level-headed and effective” response to natural as well as terrorist-inflicted disasters.

President-elect Barack Obama (L) listens as Arizona Governor ... 
President-elect Barack Obama (L) listens as Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, his choice for homeland security chief, speaks at a press conference in Chicago, Illinois. The Department of Homeland Security was born in the US government’s greatest reorganization since World War II after the September 11 attacks of 2001 made the threat of terrorism very real.(AFP/Getty Images/Scott Olson)

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Flood chaos in China and Vietnam

November 5, 2008

The toll from flooding and landslides in Vietnam and south China is rising, with at least 51 dead in China and reports of 92 dead in Vietnam.

In the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, a clean-up is beginning after floods swept across the north of the country.

Parts of south-western China have been hit by the worst flooding in more than a century, Chinese state media said.

A girl and her bicycle are carried on a raft through a flooded street in Hanoi, Vietnam on 4 November 2008

Above: It was the heaviest rain in Vietnam for decades

Heavy rain over the past 10 days has caused landslides and mud-rock flows in the province of Yunnan.

At least 43 people are missing in China’s south-west, official media reported.

Century’s worst

The China Daily newspaper said the downpours in Guangxi province caused the worst floods in its capital Nanning since 1907.

From the BBC

Hundreds of soldiers, police and medical teams have been sent to the flooded areas, along with rice and clothing for the victims.

More than 60,000 people have been evacuated from their homes since Tuesday, state media added.

In Kunming, the capital of Yunnan, four people died and torrents of mud have flowed through towns and villages elsewhere, the China Daily said.

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (2nd L) and his ... 
Despite heavy rains and flooding in Hanoi, government goes on. 
Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (2nd L) and his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen (2nd R) review the guards of honour during a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi November 4, 2008.REUTERS/Kham (VIETNAM)

Heavy storms have blocked roads, destroyed crops and homes, damaged reservoirs and dams, and caused $100m (£63m) in economic damage, state media said.

Vietnam clean-up

Weather forecasters in Vietnam said the country had suffered the worst rains in 35 years.

At least 74 people are confirmed to have died in the floods in Hanoi and northern Vietnam in over a week of heavy rain – though the Associated Press news agency quotes Vietnamese authorities as saying the total had risen to 92 people.

Life is returning to normal in the capital as a huge clean-up gets under way.

Residents found more than 30cm (1ft) of mud in their homes at the height of the flooding.

Pumping stations are at work removing millions of cubic metres of water from the capital’s neighbourhoods.

Dykes across the Red River delta, intended to protect the capital city, have been a focus of concern, with troops on standby.

Although the region suffers annual deluges, this year counts among the worst experienced in recent years.

Vietnam floods kill 49, Hanoi still under water

November 2, 2008

HANOI (Reuters) – Floods triggered by torrential rains in northern and central Vietnam have killed about 49 people, state media said on Sunday, 18 of them in the capital Hanoi hit by the worst flooding in more than two decades.

More flash floods were expected in the northern and central provinces later on Sunday and Monday, weather forecasters said.

“The flood situation remains very complicated,” the national meteorology center said in a flood report late on Sunday.

A vegetable seller goes through a flooded street in Hanoi,Vietnam, ... 
A vegetable seller goes through a flooded street in Hanoi,Vietnam, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008. Much of Vietnam’s capital remained under water Sunday as the death toll from the city’s worst flooding in two decades climbed to 17, disaster officials and state media reported.(AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki)

Floods on Hoang Long, Buoi and Ca rivers in northern Vietnam remained on “very high level,” the government’s storm and flood control committee said in the report.

State media said at least 18 people were killed by the floods in Hanoi, believed to be the heaviest to hit the capital since 1984. Among the dead were three children on their way to school.

National channel Vietnam Television quoted flood control officials as saying about 49 people had been killed and several remained missing in floods in the country’s northern and central regions in the past week.

Many streets in downtown and on the outskirts of the capital remained under water and residents were seen fishing on the streets near West Lake, the city’s biggest.

“Food, especially vegetables, is running out fast and prices have gone up four or five times,” said Nguyen Thu Thuy, whose home has been under water since Saturday.

Television footage on Sunday showed more than 90 percent of the capital’s vegetable growing acreage was under up to 1 meter (3 ft) of water.

Many residents in Hanoi abandoned cars and motorcycles in the streets.

Torrential rain continues to pound northern Vietnam on Saturday, weather forecasters said warning of flash floods in six mountainous provinces.

A customer stands in front of a submerged supermarket along ...
A customer stands in front of a submerged supermarket along a flooded street in Hanoi, November 1, 20008.(Kham/Reuters)

Up to 500 mm (19.7 inch) of rain had pounded Hanoi since Friday, halting traffic, while landslides had eroded many sections of the north-south Ho Chi Minh highway in Thua Thien-Hue province.

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Floods kill 25 in Vietnam

September 27, 2008

HANOI (AFP) – The death toll from floods in northern Vietnam triggered by Typhoon Hagupit has risen to at least 25 while four others are missing, disaster officials said Saturday.

Flood-affected people in northern Vietnam, where the death toll ... 
Flood-affected people in northern Vietnam, where the death toll from floods triggered by Typhoon Hagupit has risen to at least 25 while four others are missing(AFP)

The victims came from five different provinces, 10 of them from mountainous Son La, said an online report from the national flood and storm control department. State media had reported 16 dead on Friday.

Another three bodies have been recovered in Lang Son province which borders China, bringing the death toll there to seven, said Bui Thanh, a provincial disaster official.

“These people were swept away during floods,” he told AFP, adding that little rain had been reported since Saturday morning.

In Bac Giang province, two boys aged four and 10 and a mobile phone company technician were among the latest victims of the floods.

“The man, from Viettel company, fell into the strong currents while he was trying to prevent flood water from entering a telecom station,” said Bui Lien Son, deputy head of the province’s flood and storm office.

A total of 27 people have been reported injured. Thousands of houses were inundated or destroyed while more than 97,700 hectares (241,000 acres) of crops had been damaged since floods and heavy rains ravaged the region on Wednesday night.

State-run television VTV showed people in Bac Giang and Quang Ninh provinces taking refuge on the roofs of houses flooded to the eaves or on hills.

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Vietnam celebrates UN Security Council seat

October 17, 2007

by Frank Zeller

HANOI (AFP) – Vietnam on Wednesday celebrated a key step in its post-war global reintegration after the United Nations accepted it for the first time as a non-permanent Security Council member from next year.  Its new role will elevate Vietnam’s international prestige but also force its leaders — who have been keen on friendly ties with almost all countries — to make tough choices and take sides in world disputes, observers said.The world body on Tuesday chose Vietnam, along with four other newcomers, to sit on the 15-member council for two years from January 1, meaning Vietnam will assume the rotating presidency for a month some time next year.

Communist Vietnam joined the United Nations 30 years ago — two years after it emerged war-shattered but victorious from what is called here the American War — and Hanoi first applied for a council seat a decade ago.
Meanwhile, at home in Vietnam, people wade through a flooded street in central city of Hue, Vietnam on Tuesday Oct. 16, 2007. Floods triggered by heavy rains in central Vietnam killed three people, left two others missing and forced tens of thousands of people from their homes, disaster officials said Wednesday.

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Pakistan’s Musharraf tells mosque rebels to surrender

July 7, 2007

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf told Islamists besieged at an Islamabad mosque to surrender Saturday, amid growing indications that an attempt to shoot down his plane was linked to the standoff.

Military ruler Musharraf said that the hardline students holed up inside the Red Mosque for the past five days must immediately free women and children allegedly being held as human shields, or face death.

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Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf addresses flood victims in Kambo Saeed near Larkana, 480 km (300 miles) from Karachi July 7, 2007. Musharraf told Islamist militants barricaded in a mosque on Saturday to surrender or die, while concern grew for hundreds of women and children inside the beseiged compound in the Pakistani capital. (Stringer/Reuters)