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By David Alexander and Rujun Shen SINGAPORE (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Saturday that Beijing's island-building in the South China Sea was undermining security in the Asia-Pacific but, despite his blunt remarks, the response from Chinese officials was measured. Carter, speaking to top defense officials from the Asia-Pacific at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, acknowledged that several countries had created outposts in the region's disputed islands, but he said the scope of China's activity created uncertainty about its future plans. "China has reclaimed over 2,000 acres, more than all other claimants combined ... and China did so in only the last 18 months," Carter told the Shangri-La Dialogue security forum.
By Lisa Maria Garza and Jim Forsyth DALLAS (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration late on Friday for areas in Texas hammered by severe weather that killed at least 21 people, caused massive flooding and prompted evacuations this week. Storms that battered North Texas on Thursday and Friday added more runoff to swollen rivers and prompted hundreds of calls for help in Dallas, where some areas saw up to seven inches (17.8 cm) of rain. "Communities across the State of Texas have experienced devastating destruction, injury and – most tragically – loss of life due to the major and unceasing severe weather system that has been impacting our state for weeks," said Governor Greg Abbott, who has declared 70 counties disaster areas.