In brief: Mounting death toll reaches 100 in typhoon

Manila, Philippines – The death toll from Typhoon Bhopa climbed to more than 100 people today, while scores of others remain missing in the worst-hit areas of the southern Philippines.

Bhopa, one of the strongest typhoons to hit the country this year, struck Davao Oriental at dawn on Tuesday then barreled across southern and central provinces, triggering landslides, flooding and cutting off power in two entire provinces.

At least 43 people died when torrents of water rampaged down a mountain in New Bataan town in Compostela Valley province and engulfed a school and village hall where people were taking shelter from the storm. Six villagers drowned in floods in Montevista town. In nearby Davao Oriental province, 51 people died, mostly in floods, while two men perished when fierce wind ripped their boat from its mooring and it sank on central Siquijor island.

Asylum sought by software founder

Guatemala City – Software company founder John McAfee has surfaced in public for the first time in weeks, saying Tuesday that he plans to ask for asylum in Guatemala because he fears persecution in Belize.

McAfee spoke to the Associated Press in a restaurant near a high-end hotel where he is staying in Guatemala City after sneaking out of neighboring Belize. Police in Belize have called him a person of interest in the November slaying of a fellow American ex-pat but say there is no warrant for his arrest. Since there are no restrictions on his travels, it’s unclear why he would need any special status in order to stay in Guatemala.

McAfee says he is being persecuted by the Belizean government, and he has sensitive information about official corruption in that country.

Belizean police have denied they are persecuting McAfee or are motivated by corruption, saying they have simply been investigating a crime about which McAfee may have information.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow has expressed doubts about McAfee’s mental state, saying: “I don’t want to be unkind to the gentleman, but I believe he is extremely paranoid, even bonkers.”


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