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Photographs by AP/AARON FAVILA

mages of Typhoon Mangkhut, locally named “Typhoon Ompong,” are seen at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council operations center in metropolitan Manila, Philip- pines, on Thursday.

Philippines readying for super typhoon

MANILA, Philippines -- Philippine authorities began evacuating thousands of people Thursday from the path of the most powerful typhoon this year, closing schools, readying bulldozers for landslides and placing rescuers and troops on full alert in the country's north.

More than 4 million people live in areas at most risk from the storm, which the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii categorized as a super typhoon with powerful winds and gusts.

Typhoon Mangkhut could hit northeastern Cagayan province on Saturday. It was tracked today about 250 miles away in the Pacific with sustained winds of 127 mph and gusts of up to 158 mph, Philippine forecasters said.

With a rain cloud band 560 miles wide, combined with seasonal monsoon rains, the typhoon could bring heavy to intense rains that could set off landslides and flash floods, the forecasters said. Storm warnings have been raised in 25 provinces across the main northern island of Luzon, restricting sea and air travel.

Civil defense chief Ricardo Jalad told an emergency meeting led by President Rodrigo Duterte that about 4.2 million people in Cagayan, nearby Isabela province and outlying provincial regions are vulnerable to the most destructive effects near the typhoon's 77-mile-wide eye.

Mangkhut, a Thai word for the mangosteen fruit, is the 15th storm this year to batter the Philippines.

Court cites flaws in U.K. surveillance

STRASBOURG, France -- Europe's human-rights court handed a partial victory Thursday to groups that challenged the legality of mass surveillance and intelligence-sharing practices exposed by American whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that some aspects of British surveillance procedures violated provisions in the European Convention on Human Rights that are meant to safeguard Europeans' rights to privacy.

Specifically, the court said there wasn't enough independent scrutiny of processes used by British intelligence services to sift data and communications intercepted in bulk.

The ruling cited a "lack of oversight of the entire selection process" and "the absence of any real safeguards."

The court's seven judges also voted 6-1 that Britain's system for getting data from communications service providers also violated the human-rights convention, including its provisions on privacy and on freedom of expression.

But the court said it is "satisfied" that British intelligence services take their human-rights convention obligations seriously "and are not abusing their powers."

The ruling is not final and could be appealed.

NASA updated on space outpost leak

MOSCOW -- The Russian space agency's chief has talked to his NASA counterpart about a mysterious leak at the International Space Station, Roscosmos said Thursday.

The agency said that its director, Dmitry Rogozin, informed NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine about the Russian investigation into the leak that was spotted last month in the Russian Soyuz spacecraft docked at the station. The crew of three Americans, two Russians and a German quickly found and sealed the tiny hole that created a slight loss of pressure.

Roscosmos added that Rogozin and Bridenstine agreed Wednesday to refrain from any preliminary statements on the matter until the end of the official investigation.

Rogozin has previously said that the hole could have been drilled during manufacturing or while in orbit, a statement that has raised some consternation.

Without specifically mentioning Rogozin, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov on Wednesday sternly warned against speculations that the crew could be responsible for making the hole.

11 Chinese die in shovel, dagger attack

BEIJING -- The death toll has risen to 11 with another 44 people hospitalized after a man drove an SUV into a crowd in central China before jumping out and attacking victims with a dagger and shovel, authorities said Thursday.

The Hengyang city government said the suspect in the case had previous convictions for crimes including drug trafficking, theft and assault and, acting alone, had sought to "get revenge on society."

That appeared to rule out terrorism, although vehicles have previously been used in attacks blamed on militant Muslim separatists from the Uighur ethnic minority group.

Police identified the suspect as 54-year-old Yang Zanyun from Hengyang's Hengdong county in the largely agricultural province of Hunan.

Tuesday night's attack happened in a public square where Chinese typically gather to dance in groups or enjoy the cool evening breezes. The SUV apparently appeared without warning, jumping the curb before plowing into the crowd.

-- Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports

Injured people receive medical treatment at a hospital in Hengyang in south China’s Hunan province after an SUV crashed into a crowd at a public squar...

A Section on 09/14/2018

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