Fri, Jan 17, 2020 - Page 6 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

FIJI

Authorities brace for cyclone

Disaster response teams were yesterday on standby as the nation faced a second cyclone threat in less than three weeks. Gale and heavy rain warnings were in place on northern Rotuma Island, with the Fiji Meteorological Service saying that the storm was expected to be fully fledged Tropical Cyclone Tino by the evening. It was forecast to pass over the second-largest island, Vanua Levu, today. “We are monitoring the situation closely and ready to help every affected Fijian,” the government said in a statement after being briefed by the National Disaster Management Office. “There is a cyclone alert in place. Please be prepared and take every precaution to keep yourselves and your families safe.” There were concerns for an interisland ferry with more than 100 passengers and crew on board, which was drifting in the path of the storm after developing mechanical problems. However, the rescue coordination center said that repairs had been made and the vessel had safely reached harbor in Suva.

JAPAN

Scores apply to be girlfriend

Applications to become billionaire Yusaku Maezawa’s girlfriend have topped 20,000, streaming service AbemaTV said yesterday, ahead of its documentary on his search for a “life partner” to take on his moon voyage. Maezawa — who is to be the first private passenger on Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies, commonly known as SpaceX — has already generated a huge social media buzz with a US$9 million giveaway to his followers that secured his position as the nation’s foremost Twitter celebrity. The show’s application site now includes a “love diagnostic test,” through which potential entrants can test their compatibility with the entrepreneur, who last year sold his online fashion business Zozo to SoftBank Group Corp. Multiple-choice questions include: “If you rode in a private jet where would you go?” and “If Maezawa farted in front of you, what would you say,” with users presented with a photograph of the billionaire varying from happy to sad depending on their score. AbemaTV, backed by online ad agency CyberAgent and broadcaster TV Asahi, is one of Japan’s foremost proponents of reality dating shows. Securing Maezawa for Full Moon Lovers is a coup for the service, which aims to generate social media traffic and is targeting younger viewers who are turning off TV. Current and upcoming AbemaTV shows include one in which Japanese-speaking female contestants are paired with foreign men who do not speak their language and another in which women go on dates with “princes” several years their junior.

PHILIPPINES

Volcano remains dangerous

The threat of the Taal Volcano unleashing a potentially catastrophic eruption remains high, authorities warned yesterday, saying that it was showing dangerous signs, despite a “lull” in spewing ash. Scores of earthquakes rattle the region daily and large fissures are opening up in the ground, which means the magma that would fuel a major eruption is still flowing beneath. Authorities are struggling to keep evacuees, about 50,000 of whom fled to shelters after Taal burst to life on Sunday, away from the danger zone around the volcano. People are trying to get back to homes they left in a hurry to get a change of clothes, feed livestock and pets, and check on properties damaged by the fissures or covered with a thick layer of ash. Taal’s last eruption was in 1977, but it has a long history of activity. In 1965, an eruption at the volcano killed about 200 people.

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