Earthquake in Philippines kills 15
At least 15 people have died after a 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck the central Philippines island of Negros on Monday, according to government officials. The quake hit 70km north of Dumaguete city on Negros island at a depth of 20km, according to the US Geological Survey. Two children are among the dead.
The Office of Civil Defense told the BBC news that at least 29 people were also reported missing. Unconfirmed reports put the number of dead at 43. Search and rescue operations are being carried out in areas where houses and buildings collapsed due to landslides.
Severe Weather Claims Lives Across Europe
More than 300 people have died in Europe as the result of a severe and long-lasting cold spell, and tens of thousands of people across the continent have been left without power or been cut off from supplies.
The winter storm, which has blanketed parts of Europe in snow, has reached across the Mediterranean and extended as far south as North Africa and as far east as Turkey, and even froze the Black Sea.
Ukraine has been hit the hardest by the storm, and nearly half of the casualties come from the Central European country.
Many of the 131 who died in Ukraine were homeless people who froze on the street. The country's emergency services set up more than 3,000 heated tents in cities across the country, but thousands of people were still taken to hospitals with hypothermia and frostbite
Thousands Flee Mali
In Mali, more than 15,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries since members of the Tuareg ethnic group launched a rebellion against the government last month, aid officials say. . The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says 10,000 people had crossed into Niger after fighting in towns across the border, while five thousand have fled to Mauritania. The Tuaregs, a nomadic people dispersed across the Sahara desert, have risen up against the central government in Mali several times since the country's independence from France in 1960. They have been pushing for autonomy in the north of Mali. Some civilians were fleeing violent areas, while others feared there could be revenge attacks against those believed to be Tuareg.
Romanian PM Steps Down
In Romania, the Prime Minister has stepped down following weeks of protests against austerity measures. Emil Boc, who had been prime minister since 2008, said Monday he was resigning "to defuse political and social tension" and to make way for a new government.
Thousands of Romanians took to the streets in January to protest salary cuts, higher taxes.
Boc's resignation came as Romania is starting to feel the effects of the widespread cuts that the government put in place in exchange for a 20 billion (Euro) loan from the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the World Bank in 2009, to help pay salaries and pensions.
Intelligence service chief Mihai Razvan Ungureanu has been nominated as prime minister.
Egypt: 43 NGO workers face trial
In Egypt, 43 NGO workers face trials over illegally operating in Egypt and receiving funds from abroad without permission from Egyptian authorities for their human rights and pro-democracy groups.
Egypt charges that they fund and support anti-government protests. The groups deny that.
Washington has reacted angrily to the case, which started with raids last month on the offices of the groups. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has warned it could jeopardise U.S. aid to Egypt, which amounts to more than $1 billion a year. Egyptian Cabinet minister Mohammed Amr told reporters on Sunday, the government cannot interfere in the work of the judiciary.
Canadian PM visits China for oil deal
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is visiting China to discuss oil sales and other economic ties following U.S’ rejection of a pipeline carrying Canadian oil across the continental United States. Harper will meet with President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other top officials in an effort to diversify energy sales. Harper is determined to build a pipeline to Canada’s Pacific Coast after U.S President Barack Obama rejected a pipeline, which would have taken oil from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast.
The U.S. market currently absorbs 97 percent of Canadian oil exports; however, Chinese state-owned companies have invested more than $16 billion in Canadian energy in the past two years and hope to gain steady supplies to fuel their country’s booming economy.
Canada has the world’s third-largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.