Typhoon Hits Eastern Philippines, Causing Power Outages

Strong waves caused by Typhoon Vongfong batter houses along the coastline of Catbalogan city in the eastern Philippines on May, 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Simvale Sayat)
Strong waves caused by Typhoon Vongfong batter houses along the coastline of Catbalogan city in the eastern Philippines on May, 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Simvale Sayat)
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Typhoon Hits Eastern Philippines, Causing Power Outages

Strong waves caused by Typhoon Vongfong batter houses along the coastline of Catbalogan city in the eastern Philippines on May, 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Simvale Sayat)
Strong waves caused by Typhoon Vongfong batter houses along the coastline of Catbalogan city in the eastern Philippines on May, 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Simvale Sayat)

A strong typhoon on Tuesday slammed into the eastern Philippines, bringing high winds that caused power outages in several provinces.

Typhoon Conson carried sustained winds of 120 kilometers (74 miles) per hour with gusts of up to 150 kph (93 mph), first making landfall at the coastal town of Hernani in Eastern Samar province, before hitting the nearby Samar province early Tuesday, the state weather service said.

As of Tuesday morning, the eye of the typhoon was in the vicinity of Masbate province’s Dimasalang town, reported The Associated Press.

“We only have minor damage here, thank God,” Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone said in a text message.

He said work had been suspended in government offices.

Power systems operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines said some transmission lines were affected. Power outages were reported in Eastern Samar, Samar and Leyte provinces.

Local officials reported some flooding in Tacloban City.

The weather bureau warned of destructive winds and heavy rainfall within 18 hours in portions of seven provinces including Quezon, Masbate, Albay and Samar, which are under typhoon level three warning out of a five-step system.

The metro region of Philippines’ capital, Manila, is under level one warning, which means strong winds are expected within the next 36 hours.

Conson is forecast to weaken into a tropical storm Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

About 20 typhoons and storms batter the Philippines each year, aside from seasonal monsoon rains. The country also lies in the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a region prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone nations.



Erdogan Dampens Hopes for Restarting Talks on Cyprus' 50-year Ethnic Split

A handout photo made available by the Turkish President Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front-L) and Turkish Cyprus President Ersin Tatar (front-R) laying wreath to monument of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during their meeting in the Turkish-administered northern part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, 15 November 2020. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT
A handout photo made available by the Turkish President Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front-L) and Turkish Cyprus President Ersin Tatar (front-R) laying wreath to monument of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during their meeting in the Turkish-administered northern part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, 15 November 2020. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT
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Erdogan Dampens Hopes for Restarting Talks on Cyprus' 50-year Ethnic Split

A handout photo made available by the Turkish President Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front-L) and Turkish Cyprus President Ersin Tatar (front-R) laying wreath to monument of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during their meeting in the Turkish-administered northern part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, 15 November 2020. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT
A handout photo made available by the Turkish President Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front-L) and Turkish Cyprus President Ersin Tatar (front-R) laying wreath to monument of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during their meeting in the Turkish-administered northern part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, 15 November 2020. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT

The Turkish president on Saturday put a damper on hopes for a quick resumption of talks to heal a half-century of ethnic division on Cyprus, reaffirming his support for a two-state deal that Greek Cypriots dismiss as a non-starter.

Speaking ahead of a military parade to mark the 50th anniversary of a Turkish invasion that split the island along ethnic lines, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ruled out a peace deal based on a United Nations-endorsed plan for federation.

Although Erdogan has previously rejected the federation plan, Greece and the Greek Cypriots had hoped he would soften his position.

The anniversary is a festive occasion for Turkish Cypriots in the island's northern third, who view the invasion as salvation from the Greek-speaking majority's domination. The invasion followed a coup that aimed at a union with Greece, which was backed by the Junta then ruling in Athens, according to The AP.

In the south, the howl of air raid sirens at daybreak began a solemn day marking what Greek Cypriots remember as a catastrophe that left thousands of people dead or missing and displaced a quarter of the Greek Cypriot population.

Erdogan’s remarks may further complicate UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ effort to get both sides back to the negotiating table. His personal envoy, Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar, has spent the past six months scoping both sides out.

“We will continue to fight with determination for the recognition of the TRNC (breakaway Turkish Cypriot state) and the implementation of a two-state solution," Erdogan told throngs of Turkish Cypriots lining the parade route in scorching heat in the northern half of the divided capital, Nicosia.

“A federal solution in Cyprus is not possible, this is what we believe. ... The Turkish Cypriot side, as equals with the Greek side, are willing to negotiate and are ready to sit down and negotiate. If you want a solution, you need to recognize the rights of Turkish Cypriots."

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar reiterated that Turkish Cypriots reject “domination” by the Greek Cypriot majority and seek “equal national status” for their breakaway state they unilaterally declared in 1983, which is only recognized by Turkey. He added that there's now “no common ground” for a return to peace negotiations.

Referring to a recent resolution in the Ankara parliament calling for a two-state solution, Tatar said it “will help us and our cause incredibly.”

The island's Greek Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides urged Türkiye and the Turkish Cypriots to re-engage in reunification talks if Ankara genuinely seeks regional security and stability and to nudge closer to the European Union.

After numerous failed rounds of peace negotiations, many Cypriots on both sides — although jaded — still hold out a glimmer of hope for a peace deal.