Isnin, 11 November 2013

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The Star Online: World Updates

U.S., Britain sending warships to help Philippine relief efforts


TACLOBAN, Philippines (Reuters) - The United States is sending an aircraft carrier to the Philippines to help speed up relief efforts after a typhoon killed an estimated 10,000 people in one city alone, with fears the toll could rise sharply as rescuers reach more devastated towns.

The USS George Washington aircraft carrier should arrive in 48 to 72 hours, the Pentagon said, confirming a Reuters report.

A statement said crew from the George Washington, which carries some 5,000 sailors and more than 80 aircraft, were being recalled early from shore leave in Hong Kong and the ship was expected to be under way in the coming hours. Other U.S. Navy ships would also head to the Philippines, it said.

Philippine officials have been overwhelmed by the scale of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest on record, which tore a path through islands in the central Philippines on Friday.

About 660,000 people have been displaced and many have no access to food, water or medicine, the United Nations said.

Rescue workers were trying to reach towns and villages on Tuesday that have been cut off, which could reveal the full extent of the loss of life and devastation from the disaster.

The arrival of the U.S. carrier and its aircraft will accelerate the distribution of aid and ensure more injured survivors can be evacuated.

Another U.S. aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, led a massive aid operation off Indonesia's Aceh province in the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.

Britain is also sending a navy warship with equipment to make drinking water from seawater and a military transport aircraft, Prime Minister David Cameron said.


Officials in Tacloban, which bore the brunt of the storm, have said the death toll could be 10,000 in their city. There is grave concern for regions outside Tacloban.

"I think what worries us the most is that there are so many areas where we have no information from, and when we have this silence, it usually means the damage is even worse," Joseph Curry of the U.S. organisation Catholic Relief Services, told NBC's "Today" programme, speaking from Manila.

John Ging, director of operations at the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said "many places are strewn with dead bodies" that need to be buried quickly to prevent the outbreak of a public health disaster.

"We're sadly expecting the worst as we get more and more access," Ging told reporters at the United Nations in New York.

President Benigno Aquino declared a state of national calamity and deployed hundreds of soldiers in Tacloban to quell looting. Tacloban's administration appeared to be in disarray as city and hospital workers focused on saving their own families and securing food.


Two Philippine Air Force C 130 cargo planes landed at Tacloban airport early on Tuesday, but unloaded more soldiers than relief supplies. Among dozens of troops was a unit of Special Forces, underscoring concerns about civil disorder in a city where little aid has been distributed.

The Special Forces immediately deployed at the airport to hold back angry and desperate families waiting in heavy rain in the hope of boarding the planes returning to Manila.

"Get back! Get back in the building!" shouted air force officials through megaphones, gesturing the crowds back inside the wrecked terminal. Many had walked for hours from their destroyed homes in the once-vibrant port city of 220,000, carrying meagre possessions.

The sick, infants and the elderly were taken on board first. Pale-faced infants were passed over the crowd and carried on with several injured people. Many people wept and begged officials to let them on.

Aid trucks have struggled to enter the corpse-choked city because of the stream of people and vehicles leaving.

Reuters journalists travelled into Tacloban on a government aid truck late on Monday which was guarded by soldiers with assault rifles.

"It's risky," said Jewel Ray Marcia, an army lieutenant. "People are angry. They are going out of their minds."

Residents have told terrifying accounts of being swept away by a wall of water, revealing a city that had been hopelessly unprepared for a storm of Haiyan's power.

Most of the damage and deaths were caused by waves that inundated towns, washed ships ashore and swept away villages.


International relief efforts have begun to gather pace, with dozens of countries and organisations pledging tens of millions of dollars in aid.

Operations have been hampered because roads, airports and bridges were destroyed or covered in wreckage by surging waves and winds of 314 kph (195 mph).

U.N. aid chief Valerie Amos, who is travelling to the Philippines, released $25 million for aid relief on Monday from the U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund.

Amos and the Philippines government are due to launch an appeal and action plan on Tuesday to deal with the disaster.

Aquino's declaration of a state of national calamity will allow the government to use state funds for relief and to control prices. He said the government had set aside 18.7 billion pesos ($432.97 million) for rehabilitation.

Additional U.S. military forces also arrived in the Philippines on Monday to bolster relief efforts, officials said, with U.S. military cargo planes transporting food, medical supplies and water for victims.

Rescuers have yet to reach remote parts of the coast, such as Guiuan, a town in eastern Samar province with a population of 40,000 that was largely destroyed.

The typhoon also levelled Basey, a seaside town in Samar province about 10 km (6 miles) across a bay from Tacloban in Leyte province. About 2,000 people were missing in Basey, said the governor of Samar province.

The damage to the coconut- and rice-growing region was expected to amount to more than 3 billion pesos ($69 million), Citi Research said in a report, with "massive losses" for private property.

(Additional reporting by Rosemarie Francisco and Karen Lema in Manila, Phil Stewart in Washington, Michelle Nichols at the United Nations and Belinda Goldsmith in London, Writing by Jason Szep. Editing by Dean Yates)

World offers aid for typhoon-ravaged Philippines


(Reuters) - The United States is sending an aircraft carrier to the Philippines to help speed up relief efforts after a typhoon killed an estimated 10,000 people in one city alone, with fears the toll could rise sharply as rescuers reach devastated towns.

The Philippines has been overwhelmed by the scale of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest on record, which tore a path through islands in the central Philippines on Friday.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of donations and efforts from different countries and organisations, supplementing supplies being flown in from elsewhere in the Philippines.

- AUSTRALIA announced a A$10 million ($9.3 million) package, including medical personnel and non-food items such as tarpaulins, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, water containers and hygiene kits.

- BRITAIN announced a 10 million pound ($16 million) package to aid up to 500,000 people, including temporary shelter, water, plastic sheeting and household items, as well as military aid.

- NEW ZEALAND will give NZ$2.15 million ($1.7 million) in aid.

- JAPAN is to send a 25-strong emergency medical relief team.

- INDONESIA is to dispatch aircraft and logistical aid including personnel, drinking water, food, generators, antibiotics and other medication.

- The arrival of the U.S. carrier and its aircraft will speed up the distribution of aid and ensure injured survivors can be evacuated to hospitals in unaffected parts of the country. The UNITED STATES is providing $20 million in immediate humanitarian assistance and has sent a team of about 90 Marines and sailors, part of a first wave of promised U.S. military assistance.

- The U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (USAID) is sending emergency shelter and hygiene materials. It is sending 55 tons of emergency food to feed 20,000 children and 15,000 adults for up to five days. The U.S. EMBASSY is sending $100,000 for water and sanitation support.

- The EUROPEAN COMMISSION said it would provide eight million euros ($11 million) to help worst-affected areas.

- The CHINESE government is providing $100,000 and the Chinese Red Cross a further $100,000.

- THE VACTICAN pledged 3 million euros ($4 million), adding to $150,000 given by the Pope and 100,000 euros ($134,000) by Catholic charity Caritas.

- INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE, a U.S.-based aid agency, will dispatch an emergency team and has launched a $10 million appeal for aid.

- MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES is strengthening its teams with an additional 30 people including medical personnel, logisticians and psychologists arriving in coming days. MSF is also sending 200 tonnes of medical and relief items.

- THE U.N. CHILDREN'S FUND (UNICEF) is airlifting $1.3 million worth of supplies, including water purification tablets, soap, medical kits, tarpaulins, and micro nutrient supplements.

- THE WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME is airlifting 44 tons of high-energy biscuits, enough to feed 132,000 people for a day, as well as emergency supplies and communications equipment.

- The U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY is organising an emergency airlift to send aid and supplies.

($1 = 0.7459 euros)

(Writing by Laura Philomin; Editing by Nick Macfie and Ron Popeski)

Factbox - Women's rights in the Arab world


Nov 12 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Egypt is the worst country for women in the Arab world, closely followed by Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen, according to gender experts surveyed in a Thomson Reuters Foundation poll released on Tuesday.

Comoros, Oman, Kuwait, Jordan and Qatar came top of the survey, which assessed 22 Arab states on violence against women, reproductive rights, treatment of women within the family, their integration into society and attitudes towards a woman's role in politics and the economy.

The results were drawn from answers from 336 gender experts invited to participate in an online survey by the foundation, the philanthropic arm of the news and information company Thomson Reuters, in August and September.

Questions were based on key provisions of the U.N. Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which 19 Arab states have signed or ratified.

The poll assessed violence against women, reproductive rights, treatment of women within the family, their integration into society and attitudes towards a woman's role in politics and the economy.

Experts were asked to respond to statements and rate the importance of factors affecting women's rights across the six categories. Their responses were converted into scores, which were averaged to create a ranking.


Sexual violence, harassment and trafficking combined with a breakdown of security, high rates of female genital mutilation and a rollback of freedoms since the 2011 revolution put Egypt at the bottom of the poll.

* 99.3 percent of women and girls are subjected to sexual harassment.

* 27.2 million women and girls - or 91 percent of the female population - are victims of female genital mutilation (FGM).

* 63 percent of adult women are literate.

(Sources: U.N. Women, UNICEF, World Bank)

21. IRAQ

Iraq's second-worst ranking reflects a dramatic deterioration in conditions for women since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Mass displacement has made women vulnerable to trafficking and sexual violence. The Iraqi penal code allows men who kill their wives to serve a maximum of three years in prison rather than a life sentence.

* 14.5 percent of women have jobs.

* 1.6 million women are widows.

* Thousands of displaced women have been forced to work as prostitutes in neighbouring countries including Syria, Jordan and United Arab Emirates.

(Sources: World Bank, Refugees International, Freedom House)


Saudi Arabia polled third-worst overall and ranked last for political representation and inheritance rights. Despite stirrings of progress, the kingdom's guardianship system severely limits women's freedoms.

* Women can vote for the first time in 2015 municipal elections.

* Marital rape is not recognised and rape victims risk being charged with adultery.

* Women are banned from driving and need a guardian's permission to travel, enrol in education, marry or undergo healthcare procedures.

(Sources: Human Rights Watch, U.S. State Department, Amnesty International)


Massive war displacement, both inside Syria and across borders, has left millions of women and girls vulnerable to sexual violence and trafficking, the United Nations says. The collapse of the economy and healthcare system has disproportionately affected women.

* Girls as young as 12 have been married in refugee camps.

* More than 4,000 cases of rape and sexual mutilation have been reported to the Syrian Network for Human Rights.

* There are reports of government forces and armed militias sexually abusing women and girls during home raids and in detention centres.

(UNICEF, U.S. State Department, Human Rights Watch)


Historically marginalised, Yemeni women have been fighting for rights since the 2011 Arab Spring. Experts say child marriage, human trafficking and rape are endemic.

* No law deals effectively with domestic abuse and marital rape isn't recognised.

* There is no legal minimum age for marriage.

* 53 percent of girls finish primary school.

(Sources: UNICEF, U.S. State Department, World Bank)


Sudan hasn't ratified CEDAW and women face systematic discrimination and inequality. Strict interpretations of Islam curb women's freedoms and allow domestic abuse, child marriage and marital rape. Sexual violence is common and often goes unpunished.

* Girls can legally marry from the age of 10.

* 12.1 million women and girls are victims of FGM.

* Victims often don't report rape, fearing they will be tried for adultery.

(Sources: UNICEF, OECD Gender Index)


Lebanon ranked badly for not punishing marital rape, for biased inheritance laws and discriminatory employment laws.

* No law prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace.

* Lebanese women can't pass citizenship onto children or foreign-born husbands.

* One in six Lebanese women are illiterate.

(Sources: Freedom House, UNICEF, U.S. State Department)


Israeli restrictions on movement have severe consequences for Palestinian women, experts said. Women suffer from poverty, unemployment and a high risk of domestic violence and honour crimes.

* Only 17 percent of women are employed despite a literacy rate of 93 percent.

* 51 percent of women in Gaza City experienced domestic violence in 2011.

* 25 honour killings were recorded in the first nine months of 2013.

(Sources: UNICEF, Palestinian Bureau of Statistics, Ma'an News Agency)


Somalia has not signed CEDAW. It has one of the world's highest maternal mortality rates and sexual violence is widespread. In regions controlled by al-Shabaab extremists, women suffer from harsh application of sharia (Islamic) law.

* 1,200 women die in childbirth for every 100,000 live births.

* 1,700 women were raped in camps for internally displaced people in 2012.

* Girls as young as 13 have been stoned to death for adultery and 98 percent of women and girls undergo FGM.

(Sources: UNICEF, Amnesty International, Women Living Under Muslim Laws)


Djibouti polled as one of the best countries for abolishing laws that discriminate against women but it struggles to curb child marriage and has one of the world's highest FGM rates.

* The Supreme Court has a female president.

* A law was enacted in 2009 to improve the living conditions of low-income women.

* 93 percent of women have been subjected to FGM.

(Sources: U.S. State Department, UNICEF)


Judges in Islamic courts make decisions on women's rights in divorce, marriage, inheritance and child custody cases, based on interpretation of Islamic law. Bahraini law doesn't recognise or punish marital rape or domestic abuse.

* A woman's testimony is worth half that of a man's in an Islamic court.

* Women could first vote or run for election in 2002.

* The Penal Code says a rapist can avoid punishment if he marries his victim.

(Sources: Freedom House, UNICEF)


Mauritania is one of the few Arab states with laws prohibiting domestic abuse and marital rape, but women face high rates of sexual violence and FGM. The practice of forced feeding to make daughters more attractive to potential partners is widespread.

* 69 percent of women are victims of FGM.

* More than 1,800 domestic violence victims sought help from the Mauritanian Association for the Health of Mothers and Children in 2012.

* 412 rapes were recorded in 2012.

(UNICEF, U.S. State Department, Association for the Female Heads of Households)


Women have access to education and health services but traditional gender roles are ingrained. Many foreign female domestic workers are trafficked and abused and women run the risk of being imprisoned for adultery when reporting sexual violence.

* Marital rape is not recognised and the law permits men to discipline their wives physically.

* Four women sit on the 22-member cabinet of the Federal National Council.

* Women represent 14 percent of the total workforce.

(Sources: Human Rights Watch, U.S. State Department, World Bank)


Libya ranked as one of the best countries for political representation but experts said insecurity, poverty and lack of education were some of the greatest concerns for women.

* 33 women were elected to the 200-member General National Congress in 2012.

* 20 is the legal minimum age for women to marry unless they get special permission from a court.

* Intimidation and harassment of women by militias and extremists has been widely reported.

(Sources: U.S. State department, UNICEF)


Women in Morocco have a degree of independence and autonomy but domestic abuse is common. Experts say equality laws are not implemented and there are no laws against domestic violence or marital rape.

* 17,000 incidents of violence against women were reported in the first 3 months of 2008.

* 44 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 49 are literate.

* The Penal Code criminalises anyone who harbours a woman who has left her husband.

(Sources: Freedom House, World Bank, Human Rights Watch)


Algeria ranked badly for gender discrimination in the workplace and political participation by women.

* Algerian law doesn't recognise spousal rape.

* 16 percent of Algerian women have jobs.

* In October 2012, Algeria made its first-ever conviction for sexual harassment.

(Sources: UNICEF, World Bank, U.S. State Department)


Long known as one of the Arab world's most progressive states, Tunisia has offered abortion on demand since 1965 and women can pass citizenship onto their husbands. Conservative elements are now calling for Islamic values to be enforced.

* In 2011, 61 women were elected to the 217-member Constituent Assembly.

* Women are entitled to 30 days maternity leave at 67 percent of full wages.

* Domestic abuse and marital rape laws are rarely enforced.

(Sources: U.S. State Department, World Bank, Freedom House)


Qatari women are active in business and higher education but face pressure to conform to traditional gender roles. Sex outside marriage is illegal and many domestic workers are trafficked and abused.

* About 100 expatriate women are jailed annually for having children out of wedlock.

* 51.8 percent of women have jobs.

* An anti-trafficking law was passed in October 2011.

(Sources: Doha News, U.N. Data, U.S. State Department)


Despite its reputation as a progressive state, Jordan ranked second-worst in the category of honour killings.

* 681 cases of rape and sexual assault were reported to the Family Protection Department in 2012.

* 10 honour crimes were brought before judges in 2012 and 24 women went into protective custody to avoid honour killings.

* In 2003, the law was changed so women could get passports without the consent of husbands.

(Sources: U.S. State Department, UNICEF)


Kuwait scored well on education and inheritance rights, though social protections are rarely extended to the country's large female foreign worker population.

* Kuwait has no laws against domestic abuse and marital rape.

* There are no shelters or hotlines for victims of domestic abuse.

* 15 is the minimum legal age for girls to marry.

(Sources: UNICEF, U.S. State Department)


Omani women benefit from better social protection than in other Arab countries, but FGM is still practiced in some regions and women face discrimination in the workplace and pressure to conform to traditional roles.

* In 2010, 227 men were charged with rape or attempted rape.

* In December 2011, four women were elected to provisional councils out of 192 seats.

* Women can't transfer citizenship to foreign-born spouses or children.

(Sources: U.S. State Department, UNICEF)


The Indian Ocean archipelago nation polled well across all categories except political representation. Comorian women have a good deal of social freedom while sexual abuse is recognised and punished.

* Women hold only 3 percent of seats in the national parliament.

* 35 percent of adult women have jobs.

* Half the inmates of Moroni prison were jailed for sexual aggression.

(Sources: World Bank, U.N. Development Programme, U.S. State Department)


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