South braces for storm
The country evacuated nearly 1,800 people and suspended sea travel as Tropical Storm Molave was expected to bring widespread rains over two regions on the southern part of the main island of Luzon yesterday. Tropical cyclone wind alerts were issued for several provinces in the Bicol and Calabarzon regions, with the storm expected to make landfall later in the day while traversing the southern Luzon area, the national weather bureau said. “Further intensification prior to landfall over Bicol region remains likely,” it said in a bulletin.
Storm forms off Cuba
Tropical Storm Zeta formed early yesterday off the coast of Cuba, becoming the earliest named 27th Atlantic storm recorded in an already historic hurricane season. The system was about 400km south-southeast of the western tip of Cuba, forecasters with the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory. Zeta was stationary, located near the Yucatan Peninsula about 415km east-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico. A tropical storm warning was in effect for Pinar del Rio, Cuba, and a tropical storm watch was in effect for Cozumel and for Tulum to Rio Lagartos, Mexico. The tropical storm had maximum sustained winds of 65kph, forecasters said. The system was expected to reorganize and move to the north-northwest later yesterday, skirting past Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula today before entering the Gulf of Mexico tomorrow.
Opposition wins elections
Opposition candidate Wavel Ramkalawan yesterday upset President Danny Faure of the archipelago’s long-ruling party after two decades of failed attempts for the office. “I declare ... Ramkalawan as the elected candidate,” electoral commission chairman Danny Lucas said. He won with 54.9 percent of valid votes cast, the commission said. The country’s tourism-dependent economy has been battered by COVID-19, and it is expected to contract 13.8 percent this year, the IMF has said, reversing some fragile progress since the government defaulted on its debt in 2008 and sought an IMF bailout.
Pence chief of staff infected
Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short tested positive for COVID-19, raising the prospect of another outbreak within the White House. Pence has tested negative and would continue to campaign for President Donald Trump, his office said. Bloomberg News reported that one of Pence’s closest political advisers, Marty Obst, was also infected.
Thousands of seals die
An estimated 7,000 Cape fur seals have been discovered dead at a breeding colony in the country, scientists said on Saturday. Conservationist Naude Dreyer of the charity Ocean Conservation Namibia last month began noticing dead seals littering the sandy beaches of the Pelican Point colony near Walvis Bay city. Then, in the first two weeks of this month, he found large numbers of seal fetuses at the colony, Tess Gridley from the Namibian Dolphin Project told reporters. Fur seals normally give birth between mid-November and mid-December. Gridley estimated that 5,000 to 7,000 female seals had miscarried young, with more still being found. The cause of the mass die-off is yet to be established, but scientists suspect anything from pollutants or bacterial infection to malnutrition.
‘SPIKES’: Rudy Giuliani at a hearing asked about voting data in Pennsylvania, with a witness saying that 570,000 votes they selected were for Biden and 3,200 for Trump US president-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday said that Americans “won’t stand” for attempts to derail the US election outcome, as US President Donald Trump called for results to be overturned. Biden said in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, that Americans “have full and fair and free elections, and then we honor the results.” “The people of this nation and the laws of the land won’t stand for anything else,” he said. However, Trump is challenging the results, with lawsuits under way in several states. “We have to turn the election over,” he told a hearing in Pennsylvania. “This election was rigged.” “All we need is
Hundreds of flights at one of China’s busiest airports were canceled yesterday as Shanghai raced to bring a local COVID-19 outbreak under control. Health officials have tested thousands of staff at Pudong International Airport since a small cluster of COVID-19 cases in the city was linked to several cargo handlers. China — where the virus first emerged late last year — has largely brought the COVID-19 pandemic under control through travel restrictions and lockdowns, but it is now battling a number of domestic outbreaks in different cities. Shanghai has reported seven local infections linked to the airport this month, with most cases found
For thousands of years, the dainty Fritillaria delavayi has grown slowly on the rocky slopes of the Hengduan mountains in China, producing a bright green flower after its fifth year. The conspicuous small plant has one deadly enemy: people, who harvest the flower for traditional Chinese medicine. As commercial harvesting has intensified, Fritillaria delavayi has vanished — by rapidly evolving to produce gray and brown leaves and flowers that cannot be so easily seen by pickers. Scientists have discovered that the color of the plant’s leaves has become more camouflaged — matching the background rocks on which they grow — in areas where
‘OCEAN OF STORMS’: The Chang’e 5 seeks to collect about 5kg of samples from a previously unvisited area in a massive lava plain, known as Oceanus Procellarum China plans to launch an uncrewed spacecraft to the moon this week to bring back lunar rocks in the first attempt by any nation to retrieve samples from Earth’s natural satellite since the 1970s. The Chang’e 5 probe, named after the ancient Chinese goddess of the moon, would seek to collect material that could help scientists understand the moon’s origins and formation. The mission would test China’s ability to remotely acquire samples from space, ahead of more complex missions. If successful, the mission will make China only the third country to have retrieved lunar samples, following the US and the Soviet Union decades