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Dec. 9, 2012 at 12:00 PM
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Typhoon Bopha death toll at 540

MANILA, Philippines, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- The death toll from Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines has increased to 540 while 1,088 people were injured and 827 were missing, authorities said Sunday.

Typhoon Bopha, which has affected about 5.40 million people, hit the Philippines Tuesday and has since wreaked havoc across the island nation, www.sunstar.com reported.

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Executive Director Benito Ramos confirmed a report stating the higher death toll Sunday.

The report said 77,192, families or 368,672 people, were being housed in 173 evacuation centers and about $14.8 billion of damage to agriculture, infrastructure and private property had been recorded, Ramos said.

The U.S. Department of National Defense said it would extend assistance to the Philippines in relief operations for the victims.

"At the request of the government of Philippines, Secretary (Leon) Panetta has directed U.S. Pacific Command to support U.S. government humanitarian relief operations in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Bopha," the department said in a statement.

Bopha was heading back toward the Philippines early Sunday and weather officials warned to be aware of flooding and possible landslides as the country braced for a second hit from the storm.

N. Korea rocket launch postponed

PYONGYANG, North Korea, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- North Korea's planned rocket launch may be rescheduled due to technical problems, a South Korean government official said Sunday.

The rocket launch was originally scheduled to take place sometime between Dec. 10 and 22, South Korean Yonhap news agency reported.

However, the North's Korean Central News Agency said the launch will likely be postponed, giving few details on the situation.

An unnamed government official from Seoul with knowledge on the situation said the North is considering delaying the launch because of "technical problems," adding that "abnormal signs" were noticed since Saturday afternoon.

He didn't elaborate.

Observers said the North's decision to postpone shows that Pyongyang cares about the success of the rocket.

"North Korea's cautious stance on the rocket launch shows that it is not only focusing on just firing it off, but also caring about whether it can succeed," said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at Seoul's University of North Korean Studies. "The North seems to send a message that the rocket launch is not only for military purpose but also for its scientific technology."

Drone strike in Pakistan kills 3

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- A U.S. drone strike on the North Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan Sunday killed at least three people, officials said.

The drone was targeting a house in Miranshah, Geo News reported. It fired four missiles in the area, sources said, adding drones were seen hovering in the area after the incident.

Pakistan has long objected to U.S. drone attacks in its tribal region.

Penn State to start paying Sandusky fine

STATE COLLEGE, Pa., Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Officials at Penn State University said they would be writing a check to the NCAA this week as partial payment of fines levied in the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

The $12 million payment is the first installment in a $60 million penalty for university officials' failure to report the allegations of sexual abuse against Sandusky.

Sandusky was a longtime assistant football coach on Joe Paterno's staff who was convicted of molesting young boys for several years, sometimes on school property.

The pending Dec. 20 payment will be put into a money market fund at the request of the NCAA, the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa., said Sunday. The funds will become part of an endowment benefiting charities to be determined.

The NCAA pledged to keep at least 25 percent of the endowment inside Pennsylvania; however some officials and civic leaders in the State College area want it spent closer to home since that is where the crimes occurred.

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