Storm toll rises to 29
About 400,000 people were ordered or advised to leave their homes yesterday as heavy rain pounded the southwest for a third day, leaving 29 dead or missing, officials and media said. The Japan Meteorological Agency warned of more landslides and floods on the island of Kyushu as rainfall of up to 11cm per hour was recorded yesterday. Evacuation orders were issued to about 260,000 people in the north of the island where more rivers burst their banks, Kyushu’s local media reported. They were told to go to designated shelters such as schools and other public facilities. Nearly 140,000 other people were advised to leave their homes to avoid possible disaster, according to officials in the four affected prefectures in Kyushu. In Fukuoka prefecture alone, 78,600 people were ordered to evacuate their homes as rivers overflowed in dozens of places and 181 landslides occurred, an official said.
Hundreds stuck in Shanghai
More than 200 United Airlines passengers have been stranded for three days in Shanghai in a delay that began with an aircraft mechanical problem. The passengers were supposed to leave on Wednesday for Newark, New Jersey. The airline says the Boeing 777 had a mechanical problem so the flight was canceled. The plane was not fixed in time to fly them out on Thursday. United spokesman Rahsaan Johnson said the plane was fixed by Friday, but a boarding issue delayed the flight. That meant that the crew did not have enough time to make the flight under federal safety rules. So that flight was canceled, too. The passengers have been staying in hotels. They were expected to be able to leave yesterday. The airline said they would get refunds.
Four injured in last bull run
Officials say four people are being treated for cuts and bruises, but no one was gored, as thousands of runners packed the streets of the San Fermin festival, eager to share in the adrenaline fueled experience of this year’s final running of the bulls. Doctor Ignacio Iribarren, a spokesman for Pamplona’s Navarra hospital, said only four people had been admitted for treatment — two with head concussions and two with arm and leg injuries. The run, which featured large bulls from the Torrehandilla ranch, took just two minutes and 33 seconds to cover the 849m course from the holding stables just outside the city walls to a central bullring.
Gaza chair condemned
The government has condemned UNESCO’s decision to establish a chair at the Islamic University of Gaza, calling the institution “a breeding ground for terrorists.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday that “[Palestinian militant group] Hamas uses Gaza University laboratories to develop and produce explosives and rockets and has even run a course on explosive making.” Israel, the US, the EU and others consider Gaza’s Hamas rulers a terror group because of their suicide bombings and attacks on civilians that have killed hundreds. UNESCO said the chair is to promote astronomy, astrophysics and space sciences. Earlier this month, it approved Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity as an endangered site.
Dark matter device relocated
The world’s most sensitive dark matter detector settled into a new home on Friday in an old US gold mine and when it starts collecting data later this year, scientists say it could lead to another breakthrough in studies of the universe, on the scale of the recent celebration over the so-called “God particle.” “Dark matter presents a much bigger problem to detect,” said Tom Shutt, a physics professor with Case Western Reserve University who is working on the Large Underground Xenon detector. “If we find it, it is going to be a much bigger shift in our understanding of physics.” Dark matter is elusive matter that scientists believe makes up about 25 percent of the universe. They know it is there by its gravitational pull, but unlike regular matter and antimatter, it is so far undetectable.