Palu, Oct 2 (AP/UNB) — Desperation was visible everywhere Tuesday among victims receiving little aid in areas heavily damaged by a massive earthquake and tsunami, four days after the disaster devastated parts of Indonesia's central Sulawesi island. Signs propped along roads read "We Need Food" and "We Need Support," while children begged for cash in the streets and long lines of cars snarled traffic as people waited for fuel.
Teams were searching for trapped survivors under destroyed homes and buildings, including a collapsed eight-story hotel in the hard-hit city of Palu, but they needed more heavy equipment to clear the rubble.
Desperation was evident across Palu, a city of more than 380,000 people that was hard-hit by both the quake and the tsunami, its force apparently magnified in the surrounding inlet.
Many people were believed trapped under shattered houses in Palu's Balaroa neighborhood, where the earthquake caused the ground to heave up and down violently, said disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.
"I and about 50 other people in Balaroa were able to save ourselves by riding on a mound of soil which was getting higher and higher," resident Siti Hajat told MetroTV, adding her house was destroyed.
In the Petobo neighborhood, the quake caused loose, wet soil to liquefy, creating a thick, heavy mud that caused massive damage. "In Petobo, it is estimated that there are still hundreds of victims buried in mud," Nugroho said.
Residents who found loved ones — alive and dead — over the weekend expressed frustration that it took rescue teams until Monday to reach Petobo.
The confirmed death toll of 844, mostly from Palu, is expected to rise as authorities reach cut-off areas. The regencies of Donggala, Sigi and Parigi Moutong — with a combined population of 1.2 million — had yet to be fully assessed. The magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck at dusk Friday and generated a tsunami said to have been as high as 6 meters (20 feet) in places.
About 3,000 residents flocked to Palu's airport, trying to board military aircraft or one of the few commercial flights using the facility only partially operating due to damage. Video showed some of them screaming in anger because they were not able to get on a departing military plane.
"We have not eaten for three days!" one woman yelled. "We just want to be safe!"
Nearly 50,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Palu alone, Nugroho said, and hospitals were overwhelmed.
The Indonesian air force confirmed that a Hercules aircraft carrying an unspecified number of survivors was able to leave Palu for South Sulawesi's capital of Makassar.
Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo authorized the acceptance of international help, Nugroho said, adding that generators, heavy equipment and tents were among the most-needed items. The European Union and 10 countries have offered assistance, including the United States, Australia and China, he said.
"We will send food today, as much as possible with several aircraft," Widodo told reporters in the capital, Jakarta, adding that a supply of fuel was also set to arrive.
The coastline at Palu was strewn with rubble and a few brightly colored cargo containers poking out of the water. Buildings near the water were ruined shells. The arches of a large yellow bridge rested in the water and eerie drone footage showed a Ferris wheel, untouched, on a beach scraped bare by the waves.
Rescuers searching a collapsed building Monday night were able to remove 38-year-old Sapri Nusin alive from the rubble. He was talking to his rescuers as they took him away but his condition was not known.
In the Petobo neighborhood, Edi Setiawan said he and his neighbors rescued children and adults, including a pregnant woman. His sister and father, however, did not survive.
"My sister was found embracing her father," he said. "My mother was able to survive after struggling against the mud and being rescued by villagers."
Indonesia is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. A powerful quake on the island of Lombok killed 505 people in August, and two moderate quakes occurred near an eastern island on Tuesday.
The earthquakes 15 minutes apart reportedly damaged a bridge on the island of Sumba, but no tsunami warning was issued and no other damage was immediately reported. The temblors occurred nearly 1,600 kilometers (990 miles) south of Palu.
The vast archipelago is home to 260 million people on more than 17,000 islands that stretch a distance similar to that between New York and London. Roads and infrastructure are poor in many areas, making access difficult in the best of conditions.
Hanoi, Oct 2 (AP/UNB) — Former General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Do Muoi, a committed communist, has died at age 101.
The government said in a announcement posted on its website that Muoi died late Monday night at the National Military Hospital 108 after battling a serious illness despite efforts by Vietnamese and foreign doctors to treat him.
Born Nguyen Duy Cong in suburban district of Thanh Tri in Hanoi in 1917, Muoi joined the Communist Party of Indochina, the former Communist Party of Vietnam at young age and rose through the ranks the party and government before becoming prime minister in 1988.
He served as the head of the Communist Party for more than 6 years before stepping down in 1997. No funeral arrangements have been announced.
Tokyo, Oct 2 (AP/UNB)— North Korea warned Washington through its state media Tuesday that a declaration ending the Korean War shouldn't be seen as a bargaining chip in denuclearization talks — but suggested lifting sanctions might be.
The North's official news agency issued a commentary claiming Pyongyang has taken significant measures to end hostile relations between the two countries but said the U.S. is "trying to subdue" it through sanctions, a not-so-subtle call for Washington to lift sanctions if it wants further progress in their stalled nuclear negotiations.
The commentary said a declaration replacing a 65-year-old armistice to formally end the war "is not just a gift from a man to another," and added, "it can never be a bargaining chip for getting the DPRK denuclearized."
The DPRK is short for the North's official name — the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The commentary was directed at supporters of the U.S. policy to maintain maximum pressure and sanctions on North Korea until it has made clear and significant moves to denuclearize.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — a vocal advocate of that policy — is expected to travel to Pyongyang soon to try to revive the negotiation process and set the stage for a second summit between President Donald Trump and leader Kim Jong Un.
The commentary echoes a speech by North Korea's foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, at the United Nations last week in which he claimed North Korea is ready to implement the agreements Trump and Kim made during their first summit, in Singapore in June, but also accused Washington of failing to demonstrate its willingness to ease tensions and build mutual trust.
"Without any trust in the U.S., there will be no confidence in our national security," he said, "and under such circumstances there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first."
The North's emphasis on lifting sanctions and building trust above all else puts a spotlight on the rift between its position and Washington's since the Singapore summit, when Trump and Kim issued a vague statement about a nuclear-free peninsula without describing when and how it would occur.
Negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have since been rocky, with neither side able to agree on a starting point and widespread skepticism in the United States over whether Pyongyang is serious about renouncing an arsenal it sees as the only way to guarantee its safety.
Hopes for progress in the talks got a boost last month, when South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with Kim in Pyongyang for their third summit.
The summit resulted in a joint statement in which the North expressed willingness for a "permanent" dismantling of its main nuclear facility in Nyongbyon — if the United States takes corresponding measures — and the dismantling of a missile engine test site and launch pad in northwestern North Korea.
What the North would see as corresponding measures wasn't specified. But Tuesday's commentary and the U.N. statement suggest sanctions are a primary concern.
The 1950-53 Korean War ended in what was intended to be a temporary ceasefire. Moon and Kim are pushing for the end-of-war declaration by December. The declaration would be less difficult to make than a formal peace treaty, and Moon says he and Kim have agreed such a "political declaration" wouldn't require the pullout of 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea.
Stockholm, Oct 1 (AP/UNB) — The Nobel Prize in Medicine has been jointly awarded to James Allison of the University of Texas and Tasuku Honjo of Japan's Kyoto University for discovering a form of cancer therapy.
The 9 million-kronor ($1.01 million) prize was announced Monday by the Nobel Assembly of Sweden's Karolinska Institute.
This year's Nobel Prize recipients will be revealed starting Monday with the prize for medicine or physiology.
The Nobel Assembly of the Karolinska Institute — 50 professors at the Stockholm facility — chooses the winner or winners of the prize honoring research into the microscopic mechanisms of life and ways to fend off invaders that cut it short. A maximum of three laureates are selected.
Last year's prize went to three Americans for work in identifying genes and proteins that work in the body's biological clock, which affects functions such as sleep patterns, blood pressure and eating habits.
The physics prize is to be announced Tuesday, followed by chemistry. The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize will be named Friday. No literature prize is being given this year.
Birmingham, Oct 1 (AP/UNB) — Britain's chief Brexit minister is warning the European Union, and his divided party, that the country will leave the bloc without a deal rather than accept close adherence to its rules and obligations.
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab will tell Conservative Party members on Monday that if the EU tries to "lock us in via the back door ... then we will be left with no choice but to leave without a deal."
That view is not universally accepted among Conservatives as the divided governing party holds its annual conference in the central England city of Birmingham.
Many Conservative lawmakers would rather keep close ties to the EU after Britain leaves in March. So would major business groups, who fear barriers to trade and recruiting workers will hammer the U.K. economy