Hurricane Sandra weakens
Hurricane Sandra weakened to a tropical storm on Friday and was expected to continue losing strength as it approached Mexico’s Pacific coast, the US National Hurricane Center said. The storm — about 346km southwest of the Pacific port of Mazatlan on Friday evening — was producing maximum sustained winds of 70kph, the center said. “Sandra is expected to be near tropical storm strength when it moves near the coast of Mexico in the warning area on Saturday. After the center moves inland, Sandra should quickly dissipate,” the Miami-based center said. Sandra had been the strongest hurricane recorded in the eastern Pacific Ocean this late in the year. The nation called off a tropical storm watch for the southernmost portion of Baja California. However, it issued a tropical storm warning for part of the mainland and for Las Islas Marias, an archipelago off the Pacific coast. Last month, Hurricane Patricia, which at one point registered as one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded, landed on the nation’s Pacific coast, but did not inflict major damage.
Police powers to rise: report
Police are to be granted powers to tackle gun crime, including the ability to search suspects without a court warrant, the Australian newspaper reported yesterday, without saying where it got the information. States and territories are considering drafting laws comparable with those introduced by New South Wales state that allow police officers to search anyone subject to an existing firearms prohibition order without a court order, the newspaper said. More than 1,000 people, houses and cars have been searched for guns or gun parts since the New South Wales state law came into effect in November 2013 as police try to crack down on organized crime and prevent terror attacks.
Solvents, fuels banned
The government has banned the sale of some domestic fuels and solvents as well as fireworks in the Paris region as part of security measures surrounding a UN climate meeting that gets under way tomorrow, France Info reported. Stores in the capital and surrounding suburbs have been asked to pull products such as burning alcohol, acetone and fire starters as well as firecrackers, the radio station reported, without saying where it got the information. The measure is to be in effect from Saturday through Dec. 13.
Voters pan policies: poll
Voters have marked down the federal government’s performance on key policy issues since prime minister Malcolm Turnbull ousted former prime minister Tony Abbott, the Australian Financial Review reported. The government’s performance rating fell across all 11 policies, including the cost of living and border security, the newspaper reported yesterday, citing a survey by JWS Research. The survey of 1,100 voters was conducted from Nov. 5 to Nov. 10 and the previous poll was taken in June, the report said. It asked respondents about issues ranging from healthcare to the economy, education and immigration. While Turnbull has turned around the government’s standing with voters, he has yet to improve scores on key issues, the newspaper said. Turnbull deposed Abbott in September after the government trailed in opinion polls for more than 12 months. His coalition led the Labor opposition by 53 percent to 47 percent on a two-party preferred basis, according to a survey published in the Australian newspaper on Tuesday.
Pollution smothers Beijing
Air pollution in Beijing has reached hazardous levels as smog engulfed large parts of the country despite efforts to clean up the foul air. The US embassy in Beijing reported the level of PM2.5 — airborne particles measuring 2.5 micrometers or less that are capable of penetrating the deepest part of lungs — at 391 micrograms per cubic meter at noon yesterday. The WHO considers the safe level at 25 micrograms per cubic meter of the particulates. The Ministry of Environmental Protection has forecast severe pollution for the greater Beijing region, as well as the western part of Shandong Province and the northern part of Henan Province until Tuesday, when strong winds from the north are expected to blow away air pollutants. The ministry has advised the public to stay indoors.
Military receives fighter jets
The government has taken delivery of its first two South Korean-made fighter jets, the country’s first supersonic combat aircraft in a decade, as it strengthens its military amid a territorial conflict with China. The Philippine Air Force said the Korea Aerospace Industries FA-50 jets yesterday touched down at Clark Freeport Zone, a former US Air Force base north of Manila, to applause from security officials led by Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin. It bought a total of 12 aircraft. “We’re glad we’re finally back to supersonic age,” Gazmin said. The military, one of Asia’s least equipped, has been building up its air force and navy at a time of an escalating territorial feud with Beijing in the South China Sea. Its last fleet of a supersonic combat aircraft, the Northrop F-5, was decommissioned in 2005.
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around