Thursday: Indonesia Tsunami Death Toll Rises; Foreclosures Up in Cities

BY Tom LeGro  October 28, 2010 at 9:40 AM EDT

Tsunami in Indonesia

Villagers find shelter under a destroyed house on the Mentawai Islands in West Sumatra. Photo by Bay IsmoyoAFP/Getty Images.

The death toll from the tsunami that struck Indonesia rose to 343 Thursday as more bodies were found on remote islands. Officials said the number is likely to climb higher because hundreds of missing people may have been swept away.

Elsewhere in Indonesia, the volcano that killed 33 people this week began erupting again, but there were no reports of new injuries or damage.

Poor weather is slowing rescue efforts, the BBC reports, but an aid ship carrying food, water and medical supplies arrived in the disaster zone Thursday.

The BBC, citing an Indonesian official, also reports that a crucial link in Indonesia’s tsunami warning system was not working during Monday’s tsunami because it had been vandalized.

Foreclosures Up in Metro Areas

Foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac said Thursday that the mortgage crisis intensified in metropolitan areas this summer, with Chicago and Seattle seeing a sharp increase in foreclosure warnings.

Job Market Shows Positive Signs

Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said Thursday. It’s the second drop in a row as initial claims for jobless benefits dropped by 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 434,000 in the week that ended Oct. 23.

France Might Withdraw From Afghanistan in 2011

French Defense Minister Herve Morin said Thursday that France and some allied NATO armies could begin to withdraw some of their forces from Afghanistan as early as 2011. France has around 3,500 soldiers in Afghanistan fighting Taliban insurgents and allied Islamist groups, mainly east of the capital Kabul.