Typhoon Haiyan: The strongest ever?

By Danielle Wiener-Bronner
November 8, 2013

Super typhoon Haiyan slams into the Philippines, Snowden asked unwitting co-workers for passwords to access secret documents, and Syria to miss chemical disarmament deadline. Today is Friday, November 8, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner.

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Typhoon Haiyan slams Philippines central islands. No reporter narration.

Haiyan havoc. Typhoon Haiyan – this year’s most powerful typhoon and possibly the strongest ever to reach land – hit the Philippines, forcing more than one million to evacuate, injuring seven and killing at least three people:

Power and communications in the three large islands of Samar, Leyte and Bohol were almost completely down but authorities promised to restore them within 24 hours. Officials warned that more than 12 million people were at risk, including residents of Cebu City, which has a population of about 2.5 million, and areas still reeling from a deadly 2011 storm and a 7.2-magnitude quake last month.

Nearly 450 domestic and eight international flights were suspended due to the storm. According to the Philippines’ state weather bureau, Haiyan should pass the Philippines on Saturday and head over the South China Sea. If it hits Vietnam, it could be the strongest storm ever to make landfall in the country. Vietnamese officials have already started evacuating residents, the Voice of Vietnam radio reports. Below, residents struggle against Haiyan winds and rain. View more images here, and charts assessing the scope of the storm here.

Girls ride on bicycles as they are splashed with water from strong waves in a coastal village as Typhoon Haiyan battered Bayog town in Los Banos, Laguna, south of Manila, November 8, 2013. REUTERS/Charlie Saceda

Residents walk along the coastal village while strong winds from Typhoon Haiyan battered Bayog town in Los Banos, Laguna, south of Manila on November 8, 2013. REUTERS/Charlie Saceda

Password, please. Wanted NSA leaker Edward Snowden asked colleagues for their login information to access some of the classified documents he showed to the media, sources report. Touting his position as computer systems administrator, Snowden reportedly convinced between 20 and 25 agents that he needed their password and credentials to do his job. A source revealed to Reuters that the employees have been identified and removed from their posts, but did not know whether they were fired. The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee recently approved a bill that would set aside funds towards new software that could prevent future leaks of classified material.

Syria disarmament snag. The U.S. and Russia presented a draft timetable to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) this week which predicted that Syria’s chemical weapons won’t be destroyed until the end of next year – roughly six months past the original deadline set by their chemical weapons disarmament plan for the country.

A Free Syrian Army fighter carries handcuffs as he walks along the rubble of damaged buildings in Aleppo’s Salaheddine neighborhood, November 7, 2013. REUTERS/Molhem Barakat

The draft calls for the removal of most chemical arms by December 31 of this year, and for facilities to be destroyed by the beginning of March 2014. It is not yet clear where the weapons will be taken and destroyed upon removal from Syria. So far, Syria has met the disarmament agreement’s deadlines.

Nota Bene: Tepco will double Fukushima contract workers pay following criticism.

Standouts:

E-solution - Kenya launches electronic service to pay for government services and avoid bureaucracy. (BBC)

‘I’ll make it anywhere’ - South Africa might get a New York City of it’s own. (The Atlantic)

Car bots - An English town could see driverless cars by 2017. (The Guardian)

Game change - The future of chess may lie with a a 22-year-old player. (New York Times)

Auto truce - Chinese consumers start buying Japanese cars again. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

From the File:

  • How big formula bought China.
  • Standard & Poor’s lowers France’s credit rating.
  • Arab Spring fallout fuels Mediterranean smuggling.
  • Egypt to hold parliamentary elections in early 2014.
  • Congo to sign peace deal with M23 rebels.
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