The bow of a U.S. Navy warship that grounded on a Philippine reef in January was cut from the rest of the hull on Tuesday, lifted by a massive crane, and dropped on a waiting barge.
"The bow section of the USS Guardian was lifted out of the water around 2:45 p.m.," said Enrico Efren Evangelista, head of the Philippine coast guard Palawan District, according to the official Philippine News Agency.
The removal of the bow of the U.S. Navy minesweeper followed that of the ship's auxiliary engine room, a 200-ton piece that was removed a little more than an hour earlier.
With the removal of the two sections, about 900 tons of the formerly 1,300-ton warship remain on Tubbataha Reef, the news agency reported.FULL STORY
After nearly 15 months being held captive by suspected Islamic militants in the southern Philippines, Warren Rodwell is emaciated, exhausted but delighted to be free at last.
Philippine authorities found Rodwell, a 54-year-old Australian, early Saturday in the port city of Pagadian on the island of Mindanao.FULL STORY
A U.N. agency has dispatched a team to collect 21 U.N. peacekeepers from Syrian rebels who detained them earlier this week, but the effort has been called off due to darkness, a U.N. spokeswoman says.
The team will try again Saturday, said U.N. Josephine Guerrero, spokeswoman for the U.N.'s peacekeeping agency.
The peacekeepers, identified by the Philippine government as Filipino, were detained in a Syrian village near the Golan Heights on Wednesday. Syrian opposition coalition President Moaz al-Khatib said Thursday that the rebels took the peacekeepers for the peacekeepers' own safety due to fighting there.FULL STORY
One of the leaders of a clan from the southern Philippines called for a ceasefire Thursday amid deadly clashes in the Malaysian state of Sabah between armed clan members and Malaysian security forces.
The call for the ceasefire was made at a news conference in Manila by Abraham Idjirani, the spokesman for one of the leaders of the Sultanate of Sulu, a now defunct kingdom in the southern Philippines whose followers arrived in a remote corner of Sabah last month and claimed sovereignty over the area.
After failing to persuade the scores of clan members to leave peacefully, Malaysian security forces launched an offensive using fighter jets and mortar shells on Tuesday. But the clan's leadership said its followers hadn't suffered casualties from the attack.FULL STORY
A day after launching airstrikes and mortar shells in a remote part of the island of Borneo, Malaysian security forces searched house-to-house Wednesday for gunmen from the Philippines who infiltrated the area last month and clashed with police.
The group of Filipino men is believed to number between 100 and 300.
It arrived three weeks ago on the east coast of the Malaysian state of Sabah, on Borneo, demanding recognition as representatives of an old sultanate that once ruled the area.FULL STORY
A 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck Saturday near the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, the state-run Philippines News Agency (PNA) reported.
The temblor hit at 12:37 p.m. local time, 149 kilometers (93 miles) south of Davao, the USGS said.
It struck at a depth of about 98 kilometers. No tsunami warning or watch has been issued.
"So long, Lolong."
That was the phrase echoing around social media on Monday after news emerged the night before that Lolong, the world's largest crocodile in captivity, had died in the southern Philippines.
The outpouring of online shock and grief over the demise of the heavyweight reptile, which was more than 6-meters (20-feet) long, could be considered a little surprising, given suspicions Lolong may have been involved in at least two lethal attacks on people before he was captured in 2011.FULL STORY
Removing a stranded U.S. minesweeper from an environmentally delicate reef off the Philippines may take until April, the state-run Philippines News Agency reported Wednesday, citing the Philippines Coast Guard.
The U.S. Navy is preparing to extract the USS Guardian from the Tubbataha Reef, a Philippine national park and UNESCO World Heritage site where the 224-foot-long ship ran aground on January 17.
The Navy plans to cut the 1,312-ton minesweeper into pieces and then, with the help of two contracted crane ships, lift the pieces and carry them away.FULL STORY
One of two crane barges needed by salvage crews to help lift a stranded Navy minesweeper off a reef in the Philippines has arrived and another one is on the way, a Philippine news agency reports.
"The crane barge, Smit Borneo, arrived off Puerto Princesa Sunday morning. Another one, much bigger, is expected to arrive anytime soon," Philippine Coast Guard Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena told the news agency.
The warship USS Guardian ran aground on the Tubbataha Reef on January 17. Waves have battered the vessel since, badly damaging it.
Navy experts say the only way to safely move it off the environmentally sensitive reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is to cut it into pieces and lift those pieces off the reef with heavy cranes.
The U.S. Embassy also is organizing efforts with local authorities for restoration of the reef. The U.S. is offering a $100,000 grant to a Philippine university to "support coral restoration research at Tubbataha Reef," the embassy said in a statement.
The U.S. Navy said today it has submitted a plan to the Philippine Coast Guard on how it wants to dismantle the stranded minesweeper USS Guardian.
The warship ran aground on a reef in the Philippines’ Tubbataha Reef on Jan. 17. Waves have battered the vessel since.
Navy salvage experts determined the only way to safely move it off the environmentally sensitive reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was cut it into piece and lift those pieces off the reef with heavy cranes.
"Guardian is badly damaged and with the deteriorating integrity of the ship, the weight involved, and where it is grounded on the reef, dismantling in sections is the only supportable option," a U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman, Capt. Darryn James, said in a statement.
"We have the right team of experienced professionals to conduct this complex operation and to ensure that it is done safely while minimizing damage to the surrounding marine environment."
The tanks of a U.S. Navy warship stuck on a Philippine reef have been pumped full of seawater to keep the vessel stable while salvage ships make their way to the site of the grounding, officials said Monday.
Navy-led salvage teams have also removed most of the materials from the minesweeper USS Guardian that could pose environmental problems for Tubbataha Reef, a Philippine national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Those materials include paint, solvents and lubricants, according to a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Manila.FULL STORY
The U.S Navy minesweeper that grounded on a Philippine reef last week has taken on water and sustained too much damage to be towed off, the Navy says.
"It's got hull penetrations in several places, and there is a significant amount of water inside the ship," Rear Adm. Tom Carney said at a briefing Thursday.
The Navy said it will use ship-borne cranes and heavy-lift vessels to lift the minesweeper, the USS Guardian, off the Tubbataha Reef.FULL STORY
The U.S. Navy has evacuated all 79 crew members from a minesweeper that ran aground Thursday on a reef in the Philippines, the Navy's Seventh Fleet said in a statement Friday. Initial efforts to free the Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship at high tide were unsuccessful, and the crew was transferred by small boats to other support ships, the Navy said.
The 224-foot-long,1,312-ton ship is stuck on the Tubbataha Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Sulu Sea, the Navy said.FULL STORY
Legislators in the Philippines have passed a birth-control bill that will open the door for free contraceptives and government-funded sex education.
Voting for the legislation was carried live on CNN affiliate ABS-CNN in the Philippines.
The bill was strongly opposed by the Catholic Church. It awaits the signature of President Benigno Aquino III to become law.FULL STORY
Police in the Philippines have arrested former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on corruption charges, the state news agency reported Thursday.
Arroyo is at a hospital in Quezon City, police said. On Thursday, officers went to her room, where she was hooked up to an IV to treat hypertension and dehydration.
Police formally arrested her, but she'll remain in the hospital because her health won't allow her to be moved, said senior criminal investigator Jigs Coronel, CNN affiliate ABC-CBS reported.
Police said they've secured her hospital room.FULL STORY
[Updated 10:06 a.m. ET] People in eastern areas of the Philippine island of Mindanao should evacuate to higher ground after a 7.6-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami warning, an official of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said, according to the Philippine News Agency.
"Residents living (in) these areas facing the Pacific Ocean are advised to evacuate to higher places," he said, citing the areas of Surigao del Sur and Davao Oriental as particularly vulnerable.
[Updated 9:52 a.m. ET] A tsunami warning has been lifted for Japan, Taiwan and several Pacific islands, but a warning remains for Indonesia and the Philippines, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's tsunami center said Friday.
[Updated 9:50 a.m. ET] The U.S. Geological Survey has revised the magnitude of an earthquake that struck off the coast of the Philippines to 7.6, down from an initial reporting of 7.9, the agency said Friday.
[Posted 9:01 a.m. ET] An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 has struck off the coast of the Philippines, the U.S. Geological Survey said Friday.
The quake prompted a tsunami warning for parts of Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Guam and other areas, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
"An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicenter within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours," the tsunami warning center said.
The quake, which was about 20 miles deep, struck just before 8:50 p.m., the agency said. Its center was about 65 miles southeast of the town of Guiuan, in the Philippine province of East Samar.
Ed Serrano, the head of security at the Marco Polo Hotel in the city of Davao, about 250 miles south of Guiuan, said he felt the ground shake.
"The quake was very strong and the hotel guests were panicking. Most of them went outside," he said. "But now the situation is under control and we are waiting for official reports on how strong the quake was."
There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.FULL STORY
Monsoonal rainfall and a tropical storm cause major flooding in the Philippines. A third typhoon in five days hits China. Weeks of rains and floods have wreaked havoc on parts of Korea.
The recent uptick in tropical activity brings the Western Pacific tropical cyclone season back up to average after a slow start. But several recent flash-flooding events from higher-than-normal seasonal rainfall in southern Japan, as well as North Korea, have left soils full of moisture and vulnerable to additional flooding if typhoons and tropical storms track their way.
This is a very real threat as the Western Pacific tropical season runs year-round, but has a seasonal peak around September, mirroring the tropical Atlantic. We will likely see more flooding disasters around East Asia over the next couple of months as the tropics heat up and cyclones traverse these hard-hit areas from the Philippines all the way to North Korea.
The increased activity always has people wondering: Is this all a coincidence or is something else going on here?
We always say that global warming or climate change does not explain, or cause, specific weather events or disasters. But one of the consequences of climate change, according to climate scientists, is a higher frequency of extreme rainfall events. A warmer climate results in more moisture in the atmosphere from evaporation, and thus, higher rainfall amounts are possible in storms.
Could this be what we are seeing? Perhaps, especially considering we have not seen an increase in the number of tropical storms or typhoons over the past several years, but the number of intense flooding scenarios seem to be in the rise.
Typhoon Haikui slammed into the east coast of China on Wednesday morning, pummeling the area around the business metropolis of Shanghai with heavy wind and rain.
The storm's winds were at "severe typhoon" strength when it made landfall in the province of Zhejiang, about 225 kilometers (140 miles) south of Shanghai, the China Meteorological Administration said. The winds diminished to typhoon strength as Haikui moved inland.
The storm is the third tropical cyclone to make landfall on China's east coast in the past five days, with Typhoon Damrey and Tropical Storm Saola hitting last Friday. The storm threatens to dump heavy rainfall in excess of 150 milimeters (6 inches) on Shanghai, China's most populated city.
Although the storm's winds are expected to weaken as it moves overland, it will continue to dump large amounts of rain on the surrounding area, raising the risk of landslides and flooding.
"The rain is the bigger impact going forward," said CNNI meteorologist Taylor Ward. "We have already had up to 8 inches in some locations."
Ward said another 6 to 10 inches of rain were expected to fall, with "maybe isolated amounts greater."
Fueled by the seasonal monsoon rains and that nearby typhoon, widespread flooding in the Philippines worsened Tuesday, killing at least 11 people, the national disaster agency reported.
A landslide in the Manila suburb of Quezon City buried two houses, leaving nine people dead and four others injured, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center.Three of the dead were children, the state-run Philippines News Agency reported.
The Hong Kong Court of Appeals on Wednesday overturned a historic ruling that would have allowed overseas maids to seek permanent resident status in the affluent Chinese territory.
The decision is a setback for the rights of tens of thousands of maids from countries like the Philippines and Indonesia who often spend years working in the homes of Chinese and foreigners living in Hong Kong.
One Filipino maid, Evangeline Banao Vallejos, who has been working in Hong Kong since 1986, mounted a legal challenge to a government ordinance that excluded domestic helpers from outside Hong Kong from obtaining permanent residency.
She and her lawyers argued that denying maids the possibility of seeking permanent status was unconstitutional under Hong Kong's Basic Law, which sets out the core rights of those living in the city.FULL STORY
The death toll climbed to 48 on Tuesday from a strong earthquake that rocked the Visayas region of the Philippines, state media reported.
Another 92 people were reported missing as the nation's military scrambled 1,000 government troops to deal with the disaster, according to the Philippines News Agency.
"We have dispatched two ... choppers from Western Mindanao Command to help in the relief operations," military spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. said.FULL STORY
A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Monday off the third-largest island in the Philippines, prompting the country to issue a tsunami alert for the coastlines near the epicenter.
The quake struck about 11:49 a.m. (10:49 p.m. Sunday ET) about 70 kilometers (44 miles) from the coastal city of Dumaguete on the Philippine island of Negros, the USGS said.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology issued a level 2 tsunami alert for areas along the Tanon Strait between Negros and the neighboring island of Cebu.
That's a notch below the highest tsunami alert of level 3, which requires evacuation of the affected areas, a spokeswoman for the institute said.
She said the institute was advising people to watch out for unusual waves and to stay away from the shoreline.
No tsunami warning was issued for the wider Pacific region and there was no tsunami threat to Hawaii, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.FULL STORY