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.
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.
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.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown