South China Sea disputes

U.S. officials say the U.S. Navy deliberately avoided military drills or other actions that could have further inflamed tensions with Beijing during the USS Lassen's patrol in the South China Sea last week. For instance, the Lassen turned off its fire-control radars while transiting within 12 nautical miles of Subi Reef. On its part, the Chinese destroyer following the Lassen was, "very cordial the entire time … before and after the Spratly Islands transit," said the Lassen's commanding officer, Commander Robert Francis.

Minas Gerais dam disaster

Thursday's flooding and devastating mudslides at the BHP-Vale mine in Minas Gerais involved two dams, not one as initially reported. Brazilian officials report the mud flow is eight kilometers (five miles) long and 2.5 meters deep. Those rescued – and emergency services – are being decontaminated; mining spoils being treated as toxic. There is no official information on the number of casualties or the cause of the incident. The company that runs the mine says it detected seismic activity right before the breach. Both BHP and Vale shares declined over five percent. Brazilian prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation.