Briefs, December 19, 2012

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou pledged not to interfere with freedom of speech or the media, and said he had called on Beijing to release Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. 

Wednesday, 19 December, 2012, 3:18am

Survival pod maker says he can't meet demand ahead of doomsday

Yang Zongfu test drives his pod. Photo: Youku screen grab

The Zhejiang inventor whose successful crash test of his survival pod earlier this year made him an internet celebrity says he cannot keep up with demand for the device as December 21 doomsday fears mount.

20 Dec 2012 - 5:11pm

Philippines typhoon death toll tops 1,000

Philippine Army personnel unload relief goods to be transported to regions affected by Typhoon Bopha on Saturday. Photo: AFP

The death toll from a typhoon that devastated the southern Philippines earlier this month has topped 1,000 as hundreds more remain missing, the government said on Sunday.

Typhoon Bopha killed 1,020 people, mostly on the southern island of Mindanao where floods and landslides caused major damage on December 4, civil defence chief Benito Ramos said.

16 Dec 2012 - 4:41pm

In China, panic buyers prepare for the end of the world

Survival pods made by farmer Liu Qiyuana are airtight spheres with varying interiors contain oxygen tanks and seatbelts with space for around 14 people, and are designed to remain upright when in water. Photo: AFP

Candles are suddenly a hot commodity in Longchang county, Neijiang city.

Panic buyers seeking candles and matches have been flowing into Luo Huanlin's small grocery near the county government headquarters ever since a rumour began circulating that a three-day blackout would strike on December 21, the date on which some people believe the world will end.

14 Dec 2012 - 9:50am

UN launches Philippine typhoon aid appeal

Residents affected by Typhoon Bopha beg for aid from passing motorists along a highway at Montevista township, southern Philippines, on Sunday. Photo: AP

The United Nations launched a US$65 million global aid appeal on Monday to help hundreds of thousands of people affected by a deadly typhoon that ravaged the Philippines.

10 Dec 2012 - 4:54pm

Hundreds of fishermen missing in Philippine storm

Typhoon-affected residents wait for relief food in a heavily damaged town of New Bataan of Compostela Valley Province, the Philippines, on Sunday. Photo: Xinhua

The number of people missing after a typhoon devastated parts of the southern Philippines jumped to nearly 900 after families and fishing companies reported losing contact with more than 300 fishermen at sea, officials said on Sunday.

9 Dec 2012 - 8:46pm

Philippines typhoon victims pack into homeless shelters as death toll rises

Among the 306,000 left homeless were 2,000 people huddled in a gymnasium in New Bataan. Photo: EPA

Hundreds of thousands of survivors of a deadly Philippines typhoon crammed into overcrowded shelters yesterday, braving the stench of corpses as the government vowed action to prevent storm disasters.

8 Dec 2012 - 3:42am