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World Watch August 20, 2013

  • Published at 01:04 pm August 20th, 2013
World Watch August 20, 2013

Death toll hits 50 in Philippines ferry accident

A ferry, with 870 passengers and crew, collided with a cargo ship late Friday, ripping a hole in the ferry’s hull, knocking out its power and causing it to list before rapidly sinking as people screamed, according to Pestillos and other witnesses.

Coast guard officials said at least 50 died and 70 were missing in the deadly collision 570 kilometres south of Manila. Hampered by a thunderstorm and strong currents, divers temporarily halted their search on Monday.

Frequent storms, badly maintained vessels and weak enforcement of safety regulations have been blamed for many past accidents at sea in the Philippines, including in 1987 when the ferry Dona Paz sank after colliding with a fuel tanker, killing more than 4,300 people.

Poll shows Australia’s Labour government on course for defeat

A bold gamble by Kevin Rudd to reclaim the leadership of Australia and launch national elections appears to be failing, with a poll on Monday showing his centre-left Labour government is headed for a heavy defeat in a September ballot.

A News poll in the Australian newspaper showed opposition leader Tony Abbott’s conservative coalition was ahead of Rudd’s Labour Party by 54 percent to 46 at the midpoint of the five-week campaign, a two-point increase in a fortnight.

Mexico heads back to school with flawed textbooks

Mexican children troop back into their classrooms on Monday, and they’re going to have a quick lesson: Not just school kids make mistakes.

Their brand new textbooks have the kinds of errors that they are supposed to be learning not to make – words written with a “c’’ instead of an “s,” too many commas, not enough accents and at least one city located in the wrong state.

The foul-up is shaping up as a national embarrassment in the midst of a planned government overhaul of Mexico’s much criticised school system.

Paris suburb to fight dog droppings with CCTV cameras

A Paris suburb has come up with an innovative plan to fight a plague of dog droppings on local streets – catching offenders on closed-circuit television cameras.

The commuter town of Montereau-Fault-Yonne, southeast of Paris, said on Monday that municipal police would begin using a decade-old network of CCTV cameras to track down dog owners who do not pick up their pets’ droppings.

“This will allow us to identify and seek out pet owners with no sense of civic duty and, in the event of repeat offences, to fine them” 35 euros ($47), town mayor Yves Jego said.

Volcanic eruption coats Japanese city with ash

Residents in a southern Japanese city were busy washing ash off the streets on Monday after a nearby volcano spewed a record-high smoke plume into the sky.

Ash wafted as high as 5 kilometres above the Sakurajima volcano in the southern city of Kagoshima on Sunday afternoon, forming its highest plume since the Japan Meteorological Agency started keeping records in 2006. Lava flowed about 1 kilometrefrom the fissure, and several huge volcanic rocks rolled down the mountainside.

Though the eruption was more massive than usual, residents of the city of about 600,000 are used to hearing from their 1,117-meter neighbour. 

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