12 dead as typhoon pounds S Korea

Twelve people were killed and 10 were missing after a strong typhoon pounded South Korea on Tuesday, uprooting trees, sinking ships and cutting power to almost 200,000 homes.

By early evening Typhoon Bolaven — the strongest to hit the South for almost a decade — had moved to North Korea, which is still struggling to recover from deadly floods earlier this summer. Hundreds of flights in the South were grounded, ferry services were suspended and schools in Seoul and several other areas were closed.

Bolaven left a trail of death and damage in southwestern and south-central regions of the country, although it was little felt in central parts of Seoul.

Off the southern island of Jeju, the storm drove two Chinese fishing ships aground early on Tuesday, sparking a dramatic rescue operation. Coastguards wearing wetsuits struggled through high waves and then used a line-launcher to fire ropes to one ship, a coastguard spokesman said.

Rescuers saved 12 people while six swam ashore, but 10 crew members are still missing, one official said. Five bodies were recovered. In the southern county of Wanju, a 48-year-old man was killed by a shipping container flipped over by gale-force winds.

An elderly woman was crushed to death when a church spire collapsed onto her house in Gwangju, while another elderly woman was blown off the roof of her home in Seocheon. A
 workman fell from the roof of a hospital in Mokpo. At Imsil county, a 51-year-old man died while clearing toppled trees. In Yeongkwang county west of Gwangju, a 72-year-old man suffered fatal head injuries when his house wall collapsed. At Buyeo city in South Chungcheong province, a woman aged 75 died after falling due to strong winds.

US issues tropical storm Isaac warning

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday warned of significant damage and flooding from Tropical Storm Isaac, telling people in its path to take the “big storm” seriously and follow directions, AFP reports from Washington. “I want to encourage all residents of the Gulf Coast to listen to your local officials and follow their directions, including if they tell you to evacuate,” Obama said in a televised statement.

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