Typhoon Haiyan: Associated Press: "One of the strongest storms on record slammed into the central Philippines on Friday, killing at least four people, forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes and knocking out power and communications in several provinces. But the nation appeared to avoid a major disaster because the rapidly moving typhoon blew away before wreaking more damage, officials said. ... [But because of] cut-off communications in the Philippines, it was impossible to know the full extent of casualties and damage. At least two people were electrocuted in storm-related accidents, one person was killed by a fallen tree and another was struck by lightning, official reports said. ... The Philippines, which is hit by about 20 typhoons and storms a year, has in recent years become more serious about preparations to reduce deaths. Public service announcements are frequent, as are warnings by the president and high-ranking officials that are regularly carried on radio and TV and social networking sites."
Explainer: What Is the Deadliest Kind of Storm?
(Relative) Good News: New York Times: "The storm moved across the country at about 25 miles per hour, roughly twice as fast as Typhoon Bopha last year, which killed more than a thousand people. Having a storm move through so fast decreases the impact of rain and landslides, a major cause of deaths. 'Fortunately, this moved like a Porsche,' said Michael Padua, a senior typhoon specialist at a private forecasting group, Weather Philippines. ... The [pre-storm] alarm may have had some advantages. More than 700,000 people had evacuated their homes, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. Many were housed in evacuation centers, which could limit the death toll, according to one official."
Explainer: Why Don’t Hurricanes Hit California?
Not In the Clear Just Yet: NBC News: "Haiyan made landfall with winds near 195 mph. Typhoons and cyclones of that magnitude can blow apart storm-proof shelters due to the huge pressure they create, which can suck walls out and blow roofs off buildings. Authorities in the Philippines earlier warned that 12 million people were at risk, including Cebu City, which has a population of about 2.5 million, and areas that are still recovering from a deadly 2011 storm and a 7.2-magnitude quake last month. 'The humanitarian impact of Haiyan threatens to be colossal,' said Patrick Fuller, spokesman for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. ... Despite the strong winds, [Weather Channel lead meteorologist Michael] Palmer warned the storm surge had presented the most danger. 'Usually that’s what causes the most death and destruction,' he said. ... The system was heading towards Vietnam and Laos by Friday afternoon. Meteorologists in Vietnam said it could be the country's strongest storm ever. Evacuations were underway, according to state-run Voice of Vietnam radio."
Obama's Sagging Approval Rating: USA Today: "A majority of Americans now disapprove of the way President Obama is handling his job, while Americans' assessment of the way he is handling the economy has hit a nadir for his nearly 5-year-old presidency, according to a new Pew Research Center poll published Friday. Forty-one percent of those polled approve of how he's handling his job, while 53% disapprove. That's a 14-point drop since December, according to Pew. Obama's job ratings on the economy have been underwater for more than four years, but the current measure is the worst of his presidency — 31% approve of the way Obama is handling the economy, and 65% disapprove."
High-Speed Rail MIA: Washington Post:" High-speed rail was once a central part of Obama's vision for government — one in which the nation’s infrastructure, schools and health-care systems would be modernized to meet the challenges of globalization and expand the middle class. But [abandoned HSR projects] around the country, illustrate just how difficult — and incomplete — the effort has been. Even as he managed to get the federal government up and running again this past month, Obama’s larger project of redefining what government should do has been stymied by steady Republican opposition and public disenchantment with political leaders. And chronic problems with the rollout of provisions of the new health-care law have made Obama’s sales pitch even harder. ... While the high-speed project has made a tangible difference already in some parts of the country, key regions will be left out. In both the upper Midwest and Florida — two key planks of the president’s initial vision — residents find themselves at the moment without a viable high-speed option — and the manufacturing jobs that come with it."
#Benghazi: New York Times:"The correspondent for a disputed 60 Minutes' segment about the attack last year on the United States Special Mission in Benghazi, Libya, apologized on the air Friday morning. The reporter, Lara Logan, said it was a 'mistake'' to put on a security officer whose credibility has since been undermined by his diverging accounts of his actions that night. ... The apology followed disclosure by The New York Times Thursday evening that the security contractor, Dylan Davies, had provided the F.B.I. an account that contradicted the version of events he provided “60 Minutes.'’ On the show, and in a recently published book, Mr. Davies presents a vivid, on-scene description of the attack, including his own role as a participant in the action. But Mr. Davies told the F.B.I. that he was not on the scene until the next morning, according to two senior government officials who were briefed on the investigation of the attack."
Talking Iran: CBS/AP: "U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Friday of significant differences between Iran and six world powers trying to fashion a nuclear agreement, as he and three European foreign ministers added their weight to try to narrow the gap. But Russia expressed optimism about a deal. Officials had reported progress in Thursday's talks. But comments from Kerry and his counterparts from Britain, France and Germany after they arrived in Geneva clearly indicated that obstacles remain in the way of any agreement offering sanctions reductions for nuclear concessions. ...The talks primarily focus on the size and output of Iran's enrichment program, which can create both reactor fuel and weapons-grade material suitable for a nuclear bomb. Iran insists it is pursuing only nuclear energy, medical treatments and research, but the United States and its allies fear that Iran could turn this material into the fissile core of nuclear warheads."
Speaking of People Who Shouldn't Be Involved With Politics: Associated Press: "Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's lawyer said Friday the mayor is 'considering' rehab, a day after saying he was embarrassed by a new video showing him in a rambling rage, threatening to 'murder' someone. Dennis Morris told The Associated Press on Friday that Ford is 'considering his options,' including treatment. But he said 'it's best we hear from his lips.' Morris said Ford needs to say he what he plans to do himself because 'when you go left, he goes right.' Morris said Thursday was a defining day for the mayor of Canada's largest city. The mayor said he was 'extremely, extremely inebriated' in the video and 'embarrassed' by it."
A Few More Quick Hits From Slate—
- Future Tense: “Invisibility Cloak” Actually Just a Box
- Future Tense: Why Infographics Are Terrible, in One Infographic
- Outward: Gay Marriage Is Booming. Where Does That Leave Civil Unions?
- Browbeat: It’s Easier Than You Think to Get Kids to Eat Beets
That's all for today. See you back here Monday. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.
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