Typhoon Bopha kills at least 274 in Philippines


Philippine authorities raised to 274 the death toll from flooding and landslides caused by Typhoon Bopha, while 279 other people are missing and more than 218,000 have been displaced.

The head of the National Council for Prevention and Response to Disasters, Benito Ramos, told the media that 339 people have been injured in storm-related incidents.

The majority of the fatalities occurred in the eastern part of the island of Mindanao, where on Tuesday the typhoon made landfall with sustained winds of 175 kph (109 mph).




U.S. jazz great Dave Brubeck dies


U.S. jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, who performed classics like "Take Five" and "Blue Rondo a la Turk" - the latter of which he wrote - died in a Connecticut hospital, his manager said. He was 91.

Brubeck, considered to be one of the most outstanding jazz pianists and composers, died of heart failure.

He formed The Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1951 and eight years later the group issued "Time Out," the first jazz album to sell more than a million copies.

Brubeck was the second jazz musician to get on the cover of Time magazine, in 1954, after Louis Armstrong, who had appeared on the popular magazine's cover in 1949.




U.S. tycoon McAfee applies for asylum in Guatemala


U.S. software tycoon John McAfee, via his attorney, presented a formal asylum request to Guatemala arguing that he is being "politically persecuted" by the government of Belize, the country where he settled in 2008.

A spokesman for the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry confirmed to Efe that lawyer Telesforo Guerra filed the petition.

A few hours earlier, Foreign Minister Harold Caballeros had said that if McAfee presented a formal asylum request, Guatemalan officials would begin collecting information to be able to respond to it.

"We know that Belize wanted to question him about the death of a neighbor, that is what I understand, (but) there is no formal accusation," said the foreign minister.




4 Olympic athletes lose medals for doping at 2004 Games


Four athletes who won medals at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens have been disqualified for doping, the International Olympic Committee said.

It was in 2004 that the IOC adopted a policy of preserving blood samples for eight years to allow for subsequent retesting using the latest methods.

Ukraine's Yurij Bilonog will lose his gold medal in the shot put, while Belarus hammer thrower Ivan Tskikhan must return his silver.

Two Athens bronze medalists - Russian shot putter Svetlana Krivelyova and discus thrower Irina Yatchenko of Belarus - are also affected by the IOC decision.




Besse Cooper, oldest person in the world, dead at 116


Besse Cooper, the world's oldest person according to Guinness World Records, has died, CNN reported. She was 116.

Cooper died in Monroe, Georgia, about 45 minutes by road east of Atlanta.

Her son Sidney said that his mother "had a long, good life" and that her best years were in her 80s.

Born Aug. 26, 1896, Besse Cooper received the distinction of becoming the world's oldest known person, as per Guinness World Records, in January 2011.




White House: Puerto Rico support for statehood was "clear"


The White House clarified its stance on the political status of Puerto Rico saying that the results of a non-binding referendum last month were clear, and it urged Congress to move forward on the matter.

"To clarify, the results were clear, the people of Puerto Rico want the issue of status resolved, and majority chose statehood in the second question," White House spokesman Luis Miranda said in a statement.

"Now it is time for Congress to act and the administration will work with them on that effort, so that the people of Puerto Rico can determine their own future," he said.

Puerto Ricans voted 54 percent to 46 percent to put an end to their current status as a Free Associated State of the United States.




Victim in Puerto Rican ATM crime was beaten to death


The 32-year-old advertising executive killed last week after being forced to withdraw $500 from an Automatic Teller Machine was beaten to death with metal pipes, Puerto Rico's El Nuevo Dia newspaper said

The murder of Jose Enrique Gomez Saladin in suburban San Juan has stunned Puerto Rican society and popular horror over the crime is growing as more details emerge.

"We are all Jose Enrique," singer Ricky Martin said Wednesday in a Facebook posting that included a photo of the victim.

Gomez Saladin pleaded for his life, but the assailants doused him with gasoline, set him on fire and battered him with pipes, El Nuevo Dia said, citing a statement to police by suspect Edwin Torres.




Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer dies


Celebrated Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer died at a hospital in Rio de Janeiro, doctors said. He was 104.

The father of modern architecture in Brazil entered the hospital Nov. 2 suffering from kidney problems.

Niemeyer's condition grew worse in recent days, Dr. Fernando Gjorup said earlier Wednesday, adding that the patient was breathing with the aid of a respirator and under sedation.




14 Die in fire at textile plant in southeast China


Fourteen women died and one was injured in a suspected arson attack at a textile plant in the southeastern Chinese city of Shantou, the state-run media reported.

The fire broke out at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at the plant in that city's Chaonan district and firefighters needed a half hour to extinguish it.

A man suspected of setting the blaze and locking the factory doors to prevent people inside from escaping has been arrested, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported, citing authorities.

The man allegedly started the blaze because he was angered over unpaid wages, the paper said.




17 Die in China coal mine blast


Seventeen workers died in a gas explosion at a coal mine in southwestern China, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The accident at the Shangchang mine in Yunnan province occurred at around 2:15 p.m. when 66 workers were inside, 49 of whom managed to escape unharmed, Xinhua said.




Prosecutor: Mexican beauty queen fired at troops before death


A Mexican prosecutor said beauty queen Maria Susana Flores Gamez fired at army soldiers before she was killed in an armed clash last month in the northwestern state of Sinaloa.

The delegate of the federal Attorney General's Office in Sinaloa, Enrique Feregrino Taboada, told reporters Tuesday that a gunshot residue examination conducted on the 22-year-old woman's body turned up positive.

He said the investigation was continuing into four people detained in the wake of the Nov. 24 clash, which took place in the town of Mocorito and pitted the soldiers against a cell of the Sinaloa cartel.

The shootout occurred when the troops came under fire by a group armed assailants while patrolling the area and repelled the aggression.

Two soldiers and a civilian who was driving in the area at the time of the shootout also died in the exchange of gunfire.




11 Dead in Bolivia shipwreck


Eleven people are confirmed dead and five others remain missing after a boat sank on Lake Titicaca, Bolivian authorities said.

The vessel went down about 1 mile from Suriqui island due to excess weight, regional naval commander Pablo Cardona told the media.

At least 20 people were aboard the boat, most of them teachers returning to the mainland after taking part in a school event on Suriqui.