The Philippine government is defending its efforts to deliver assistance to victims of Typhoon Haiyan, many of whom have received little or no assistance since the deadly storm struck a week ago.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said Friday that in a situation like this, nothing is fast enough. Speaking in the city of devasted city of Tacloban, he said that the need is massive, immediate and not everyone can be reached.
Disaster relief chief, Eduardo del Rosario, told reporters Friday that the official death toll from the storm has risen to 3,621.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy launched a huge relief operation Thursday.
The aircraft carrier USS George Washington and a contingent of seven supply ships began delivering water and emergency rations to Tacloban. The giant hospital ship USS Mercy also is making emergency preparations to depart the United States, and is expected to join the emergency flotilla within weeks, along with the British carrier HMS Illustrious.
Reports: CIA Collecting International Money Transfer Records
Two U.S. newspapers are reporting the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is collecting records of international money transfers, using the same law the National Security Agency used to collect telephone and Internet records.
The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that former and current U.S. officials, speaking anonymously, confirmed the existence of the program.
The reports say the financial transactions program is covered under the Patriot Act enacted after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
The wire transfer company Western Union was mentioned in the Times report. Western Union did not confirm its participation in the program, saying only that it complies with federal laws, which require banks to report suspicious transactions.