Obama warns residents not to 'tempt fate'
WASHINGTON, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- A somber President Obama warned residents of the Gulf Coast not to "tempt fate" if asked by officials to evacuate as Tropical Storm Isaac took aim at the area.
The president declared Louisiana a disaster area Monday in advance of Isaac's landfall. Forecasters expect the storm to reach hurricane strength and strike New Orleans for the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which killed some 1,800 and caused billions in damage.
Obama Tuesday told reporters at the White House he wanted "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. We're dealing with a big storm and there could be significant flooding and other damage across a large area. Now is not the time to tempt fate. Now is not the time to dismiss official warnings."
The president said he is getting updates from the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Hurricane Center in Miami "on preparations that are under way in the Gulf (of Mexico region)."
Isaac eyes Mississippi River, New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Isaac was on the verge of becoming a hurricane early Tuesday, forecasters said, and was on a course that revived horrible memories for residents of Louisiana.
Tropical Storm Isaac was predicted to reach shore Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning in Louisiana with a storm surge of 6-12 feet, the National Hurricane Center said.
Should the storm make landfall Wednesday in Louisiana, it will do so on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005 and killed some 1,800 people.
As much as 14 to 20 inches of rain are predicted for southern regions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and the extreme western Panhandle of Florida.
At 11 a.m. EDT Tuesday, the storm's winds were 70 mph, just under hurricane force, and the center of the storm was about 80 miles south southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and about 165 miles southeast of New Orleans.
TS Isaac death count rises to 24 in Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- The death toll in Haiti from Tropical Storm Isaac climbed to 24 Tuesday as disaster officials warned the number could rise and damage assessment resumed.
Edgard Celestin, a spokesman for Haiti's Office of Civil Protection, said three people were missing and 42 others sustained injuries, The Miami Herald reported.
Haitian and humanitarian officials were still assessing the storm's impact.
Some areas of the mountainous southern region remained isolated from assessment teams trying to evaluate the loss of crops and homes, the Herald said.
"We are still collecting information," said George Ngwa, communications leader for the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Nigerian villages flooded by Cameroon dam
ABUJA, Nigeria, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- A massive release of water from a dam in Cameroon submerged 250 villages in neighboring Nigeria and killed an unknown number of people.
Eighteen bodies were recovered Monday from the Benue River in the Nigerian state of Adamawa, The Guardian reported.
Kobis T. Ari, secretary to the state government, told journalists Adamawa officials received a letter from the Cameroon government on Friday advising that water would be released from the Lado Dam, at the upper reaches of the Benue River.
Ari said the release was done before villagers could be told to leave flood-prone areas.
He said the flooding was the worst since 1958.
Official says Iran to continue enrichment
TEHRAN, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Iran will keep enriching uranium and "will not give up or compromise its ... right to use nuclear energy," an Iranian nuclear official said.
Ali Asqar Soltaniyeh, Iran's permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, made the comment at a news conference Tuesday held on the sidelines of the 16th Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
"Iran will not give up or compromise its ... right to use nuclear energy, fuel cycle and enrichment," the agency quoted him as saying.
"They [the West] should know that this nation will not retreat even an iota."
At the same time, he insisted, Iran would continue to cooperate with the IAEA, the agency said.
The U.N. Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions on the Islamic republic to convince it to halt its uranium enrichment and suspected effort to acquire nuclear weapons.
Old WWII bomb prompts evacuations
MUNICH, Germany, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- The discovery of an unexploded bomb from World War II has forced the evacuation of thousands of residents of Munich, Germany, fire officials said.
Diffusing the 250-kilo bomb has proved more difficult than experts originally believed, the Web site Sueddeutsche.de reported Tuesday.
The device was discovered under one of the city's most notorious bars.
A fire department spokesman said the bomb could go off at any time.
At first authorities thought it would be easy to diffuse but evacuations were ordered after discovering the bomb had a chemical, delayed-action detonator.
A controlled explosion was being planned for Tuesday evening, The Local.de reported.