Manila, Philippines – The death toll from one of the strongest typhoons on record has risen above 5,000 and is likely to climb further although recovery efforts are beginning to take hold, Philippine officials said Friday.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said 4,919 people were killed on Leyte, Samar and nearby islands in the Eastern Visayas region. Civil defense chief Eduardo del Rosario said 290 others died in other parts of the central and southern Philippines.
The regions were battered two weeks ago by fierce winds and tsunami-like storm surges from Typhoon Haiyan, locally called Yolanda.
Del Rosario said there were 1,611 people still missing.
New predatory dinosaur discovered
Chicago – Scientists at Chicago’s Field Museum have discovered a new “top predator” dinosaur in North America, a significant precursor to Tyrannosaurus rex and an important part of an emerging fossil record for the continent, the museum announced Friday.
The 4-ton, 30-foot animal was discovered in a region of 100-million-year-old rock in Utah during a museum expedition led by Peter Makovicky, curator of dinosaurs, and Lindsay Zanno, then a postdoctoral fellow at the Field.
Siats meekerorum – named by the scientists after a man-eating monster of legend from the region’s Ute Indian people and the Meekers, a museum donor family from Evanston, Ill. – helps flesh out what has been a skeletal picture of North American wildlife in the tens of millions of years before T. rex was the dominant predator.
Russia releases jailed British journalist
London – A British video journalist jailed in Russia alongside Greenpeace protesters he was filming was released on bail Friday amid indications that many of the detained activists would be freed after two months behind bars.
Kieron Bryan was among 30 people arrested by Russian authorities during a Greenpeace protest against an Arctic offshore oil rig in September. Their long detention, some of it in squalid conditions, has sparked outrage and spurred an international campaign for their release.
Bryan’s arrest was particularly tricky for Moscow, which has been accused of harassing a journalist in addition to cracking down harshly on environmental activists just as Russia is gearing up to showcase itself as host of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.