Top of the Morning: Typhoon Death Toll Sharply Increases in Philippines; Progress in Mali Peace Talks; Massive Anti-Morsi Demonstrations in Egypt

Top stories from the global news aggregation service DAWNS Digest.

Typhoon Death Toll Sharply Increases in Philippines

It would seem the warnings were well deserved. “The death toll from a typhoon that ravaged the Philippines jumped to 274 Wednesday with hundreds more missing, as rescuers battled to reach areas cut off by floods and mudslides. Typhoon Bopha slammed into the southern island of Mindanao Tuesday, toppling trees and blowing away thousands of homes with 210-kilometre (130-mile) per hour gusts before easing and heading towards the South China Sea. A total of 253 people died in and around the gold-rush mountain towns of New Bataan and Monkayo due to typhoon-spawned landslides and flash floods there, civil defence chief Benito Ramos told reporters. Twenty-one people were killed in other parts of the southern island of Mindanao and the central islands, he added.” (AFP

Progress in Mali Peace Talks

It looks like Burkina Faso-led peace talks are making some headway.“Ethnic Tuareg rebels have agreed to stop pursuing a separate state in Mali’s north, while one of the extremist Islamist groups in the area has pledged to reject extremism and terrorism, according to a statement released by the various groups on Tuesday. The concessions came during talks with Mali’s government, and suggested progress in its effort to avoid a Western-backed military intervention. But it’s unclear whether all the rebel factions in northern Mali — Islamist or ethnic Tuareg — will unite behind the pledges made during Tuesday’s one-day session. Al-Qaida’s North African branch was one group with a strong presence in Mali that was not even at the table.” (WaPo

Massive Anti-Morsi Demonstrations in Egypt

It seems that Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi’s power-grab is coming back to haunt him: “More than 100,000 Egyptians protested outside the presidential palace in Cairo on Tuesday, fueling tensions over Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi’s seizure of nearly unrestricted powers and the adoption by his allies of a controversial draft constitution. The outpouring of anger across the Egyptian capital, the Mediterranean port of Alexandria and a string of other cities pointed to a prolonged standoff between the president and a newly united opposition.” (Bloomberg