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In brief: U.N. seeks aid in Philippine floods

ILIGAN, Philippines – The United Nations is appealing for $28 million to help the Philippines respond to the needs of half a million people in the wake of last week’s flash floods. More than 1,000 have been confirmed dead.

U.N. humanitarian coordinator Soe Nyunt-U compared the destruction in two southern coastal cities to a tsunami. He raised concern about disease outbreaks among the thousands living in evacuation centers after their houses were washed away last Friday when a tropical storm unleashed flash floods.

He told reporters in Manila today that the funds will be used for water, food, shelter and essential household items for the next three months. Nyunt-U says he’s hopeful donors and foreign governments will respond to the appeal despite the global economic crisis.

Roadside bomb kills Polish soldiers

KABUL, Afghanistan – A roadside bomb killed five Polish soldiers in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, officials said, marking that country’s largest single troop loss of the 10-year-old war. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

The attack took place in the Rauza district of Ghazni province, south of the capital, Kabul, officials said. The area has seen a surge in insurgent activity this year, and Western military commanders describe it as one of the most dangerous in Afghanistan.

A provincial spokesman, Hazrat Moammad Ghaznawi, said the blast was so powerful it broke the Polish troops’ armored vehicle into several pieces.

Mexico disbands city police force

VERACRUZ, Mexico – A Mexican state plagued by drug violence has disbanded the entire police force in the major port city of Veracruz, and officials say the Navy will take over.

The Veracruz state government says it’s part of an effort to root out corruption from law enforcement and start from zero in the city of Veracruz.

State spokeswoman Gina Dominguez said Wednesday 800 police officers and 300 administrative employees were laid off. At a press conference, she said they can still apply for state police jobs but must meet stricter standards.

Japanese utility raises power bills

TOKYO – The Japanese utility behind the nuclear plant hobbled by the March tsunami said electricity bills must go up to cover costs of switching to other forms of power.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., or Tepco, said today the higher bills are needed as it might not be able to stay afloat otherwise.


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Trump sabotages GOP immigration plans in Congress

UPDATED: 3:18 p.m.

updated  Just when House Republicans needed Donald Trump’s backing the most – on their big immigration overhaul – he dashed off a presidential tweet on Friday saying they should quit wasting their time on it.