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11 dead as Typhoon Hagibis batters Japan with ‘unprecedented’ rain

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Powerful Typhoon Hagibis barrelled through Japan Saturday, killing at least three people and lashing large parts of the country with “unprecedented” rain that caused floods, landslides and emergency disaster warnings.

Around 7.3 million people were given non-compulsory evacuation orders, and more than 90 were injured, while 14 people were reported missing as flooding hit many towns and cities.

Even before making landfall, Hagibis wreaked havoc on two major sporting events, the Rugby World Cup — where two matches were cancelled for the first time in its 32-year history — and the Japanese Grand Prix, which postponed qualifying.

Transport disruption was also widespread, with authorities halting suburban trains in Tokyo throughout most of Saturday, suspending several bullet train lines and cancelling all flights in and out of the capital’s two main airports.

Hagibis smashed into the main Japanese island of Honshu around 7:00 pm (1000 GMT) as one of the most violent typhoons in recent years, with wind gusts of up to 216 kilometres per hour (134 miles per hour).

Well before making landfall, the outer bands of the storm claimed their first victim, a driver whose van was flipped over in the strong gusts.

The second confirmed death was a man in his 60s killed in a landslide north of Tokyo.

Another man in his 60s was also confirmed dead after he was pulled from his flooded home in Kawasaki city, near Tokyo.

“The house was two to three metres (yards) under water and the team rescued the man from there” but he was confirmed dead later, local fire department official Kiichi Hayakawa told AFP.

Public broadcaster NHK also said a woman near Tokyo was feared dead after a landslide.

The typhoon even caused a tornado in Chiba, east of Tokyo, an area badly damaged by Typhoon Faxai last month.

The twister destroyed one house and damaged several others. Five people — including a three-year-old boy — were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

They were among at least 96 people injured in the typhoon, with at least 14 still unaccounted for, Japanese media reported.

As Hagibis drenched Tokyo and the surrounding areas with torrential rain, the Japanese Meteorological Agency issued its highest-level emergency warning, advising people to seek shelter for protection.

“Unprecedented heavy rain has been seen in cities, towns and villages for which the emergency warning was issued,” JMA forecaster Yasushi Kajiwara told reporters.

“It is important to take action that can help save your lives.”

Tens of thousands heeded the advice to huddle in emergency shelters although nerves were further jangled when a 5.7-magnitude earthquake jolted Tokyo and surrounding areas early Saturday evening.

“I evacuated because my roof was ripped off by the other typhoon and rain came in. I’m so worried about my house,” a 93-year-old man told public broadcaster NHK at a shelter in Tateyama, in Chiba, east of Tokyo.

In Yokohama, outside of Tokyo, others hunkered down in their homes despite the storm.

“I’m 77 and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Hidetsugu Nishimura told AFP.

“We can hear an infernal din from the rain and the wind, and a fragment of the roof has gone. For an hour, the house was shaking from wind and rain.”

Several rivers broke their banks, including the Tamagawa that flows through a residential area of Tokyo.

Among the missing were three people swept away in their car after a bridge over the River Chikuma broke, local official Masataka Tomi told AFP.

There were fears of more potential flooding after officials opened sluice gates at several dams, warning residents downstream to evacuate if possible.

Nearly half a million households in the greater Tokyo area lost power at some stage during the storm.

– Rugby row –

Beleaguered Rugby World Cup officials warned that at least one other fixture cancellation was possible on Sunday after the scrapping of two matches scheduled for Saturday.

Organisers warned people not to travel to the northern town of Kamaishi, an area devastated by a 2011 tsunami where a match between Namibia and Canada was due to take place.

All eyes are on the crunch Pool A match in Yokohama between hosts Japan and Scotland that will determine which of the two teams progresses to the quarter-finals.

Organisers have said they will assess venue infrastructure before deciding whether to play the match, amid threats from Scotland of legal action if they are eliminated without getting a game.

World Rugby called the Scottish comments “disappointing.”

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‘India, China dumping garbage into sea that floats into Los Angeles’: Trump

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US President Donald Trump has said countries like China, India and Russia are doing “absolutely nothing” to clean up their smokestacks and industrial plants and the garbage that they drop in sea floats into Los Angeles.

Terming climate change as a “very complex issue”, Trump said he considers himself to be, “in many ways, an environmentalist, believe it or not”.

“So …I’m very much into climate. But I want the cleanest air on the planet and I want to have — I have to have clean air — water,” Trump said in remarks at the Economic Club of New York on Tuesday. Trump told the audience that the US withdrew from the “one-sided, horrible, horrible, economically unfair, ‘close your businesses down within three years,’ ‘don’t frack, don’t drill, we don’t want any energy’ — the horrible Paris Climate Accord that killed American jobs and shielded foreign polluters.”

He said the Paris Climate Agreement was a “disaster” for the US, adding that the deal would have resulted in “trillions and trillions of dollars” of destruction to America. “And it is so unfair. It doesn’t kick in for China until 2030. Russia goes back into the 1990s, where the base year was the dirtiest year ever in the world. India, we are supposed to pay them money because they are a developing nation. I said, ‘We’re a developing nation, too’,” Trump said amidst laughter from the audience.

Responding to a question about how he thinks about risk as it relates to trade policy and issues like climate change, Trump said, “when people ask the question…about climate — I always say: You know, I have a little problem.

“We have a relatively small piece of land — the United States. And you compare that to some of the other countries like China, like India, like Russia, like many other countries that absolutely are doing absolutely nothing to clean up their smokestacks and clean up all of their plants and all of the garbage that they’re dropping in sea and that floats into Los Angeles, along with other problems that Los Angeles has, by the way.”

“But when you see this happening, it’s — nobody wants to talk about it. They want to talk about our country. We have to do this. We have can’t have planes any longer. We can’t have cows any longer. We can’t have anything. I said, “What about China?”,” he said.

He said he wants clean air and crystal-clean, clear water and the US today has the “cleanest air we’ve ever had in our country, meaning, over the last 40 years. I guess, 200 years ago was cleaner, but there was nothing around.” “But I want clean air. I want clean water, environmentally,” he said.

The US last week formally notified the United Nations of its withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Climate accord, a landmark global agreement which brought together 188 nations, including India, to combat global warming.

The Paris Agreement, in which Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi played instrumental roles, was adopted at the UN climate conference “COP 21” held in the French capital in 2015 with an aim to reduce the hazardous greenhouse gas emissions.

Although Trump had announced his decision to withdraw from the historic agreement on June 1, 2017, the process began on November 4 with the formal notification and the US will be out of the pact on November 4, 2020.

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In wedding pics, Nagaland rebel leader’s son, bride pose with assault rifles

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Guests at a wedding reception in Nagaland’s Dimapur were taken aback last Saturday when the groom and his bride started posing for photographs with automatic assault rifles.

The photos, which have gone viral on social media, belong to the son and daughter-in-law of Bohoto Kiba, ‘kilo kilonser’ (home minister) of National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Unification (NSCN-U)—a Naga rebel outfit engaged in peace talks with the Centre.

According to reports, the wedding reception took place at Nagaland’s commercial hub Dimapur and many guests were present at the venue when the groom and bride started displaying the assault rifles—a AK56 and M16—and posed with smiles for cameras.

NSCN-U leader Kiba had been in the limelight earlier for threatening to kill journalists for using the phrase “self-styled” used by media to mention military designations given to members of the rebel outfit.

NSCN-U is a breakaway faction of NSCN-Isak Muivah, the largest and oldest of the Naga rebel outfits.

It is a part of the seven rebel outfits (except NSCN-IM), which are in peace talks with the Centre under the banner of Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs).

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Lata Mangeshkar ‘stable’ after being admitted to hospital for chest infection, says family

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Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar is ‘on a path to recovery’ after being admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the Breach Candy hospital early Monday morning, her family has said. The singer, who turned 90 on September 28, was admitted to the hospital at 2:30 am after she started complaining of breathing problems.

“Lata didi suffered from a viral chest infection so we got her to the hospital. But now, she is on a path of recovery. Thank you for your concern,” Rachana Shah, the singer’s niece, said in a statement. “Keeping her age in mind, as a precautionary measure, she has checked in to Breach Candy Hospital in order to ensure antibiotics on time to prevent any more infection. She is stable and recovering,” another statement read.

Currently, she is undergoing treatment at Intensive Care Unit and kept under observation. Though the hospital is yet to release any official comment, an official from the hospital said, “She is serious. She has been kept under senior cardiologists and undergoing series of medical diagnosis.”

Mangeshkar, who has lent her voice to over 1,000 songs in Hindi alone, was awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour in the country, in 2001.

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