News ‘Super typhoon’ nears Hong Kong, China after pummeling PhilippinesBy James Pomfret,•A damaged house is seen after Typhoon Mangkhut hits Philippines A damaged house is seen after Typhoon Mangkhut hits Philippines, Bolinao, Pangasinan, Philippines September 15, 2018 in this still image obtained from a social media video. DAEVE DEL FIERRO/via REUTERS By James Pomfret HONG KONG (Reuters) – A „super typhoon” swirled towards Hong Kong and the Chinese coast on Sunday, gaining in strength over the South China Sea after hurtling through the Philippines, where it wreaked devastation that killed at least seven.Tropical cyclone Mangkhut is considered the strongest to hit the region this year, packing gale force winds of more than 200 kph (125 mph), equivalent to a maximum Category 5 „intense hurricane” in the Atlantic.Philippine authorities confirmed 6 people were killed in landslides with four more missing, while another was found dead in a river in Manila, the capital.Mangkhut, the Thai name for Southeast Asia’s mangosteen fruit, was expected to skirt 100 km (62 miles) south of Hong Kong and veer west towards the coast of China’s southern Guangdong province, and the gaming center of Macau.”According to the present forecast track, Mangkhut will be closest to the Pearl River Delta around noontime (0200 GMT),” the Hong Kong Observatory said.(Graphic: Typhoon Mangkhut – https://tmsnrt.rs/2oZmnIS)Hong Kong has already raised its second highest No. 9 typhoon signal, which is expected to be stepped up within hours as fierce waves pound low-lying areas and strong winds rattle windows in many towering skyscrapers.Some residents have been evacuated from low-lying areas with storm surges of up to 3.5 m (12 ft) expected.Tens of thousands of travelers had plans disrupted after Hong Kong’s international airport, a major regional hub, canceled most flights. Airlines such as its flagship carrier, Cathay Pacific, canceled many flights last week.Last year, typhoon Hato, one of the strongest in recent years, pummeled the region, with Macau suffering wide damage and nine deaths, sparking criticism that authorities had not been well prepared.Macau has been cautious this time, with officials saying it shut casino gambling operations late on Saturday and China’s People’s Liberation Army on standby for any disaster relief assistance.”The suspension is for the safety of casino employees, visitors to the city, and residents,” the government of the world’s largest gambling hub said in a statement.China has ordered about 6,000 boats to return to harbor, and evacuated thousands of offshore oil platform workers, the state news agency, Xinhua, said.„KING OF STORMS”The typhoon, or „King of Storms”, as Chinese media have described it, is expected to make landfall in Guangdong somewhere between Zhuhai and Wuchuan in the evening, Chinese weather officials say.The airport in the boomtown of Shenzhen has been shut since midnight, and will be closed until 8:00 a.m. (2400 GMT) on Monday. In Guangzhou, scheduled flights between noon on Sunday and 8:00 a.m. on Monday have been canceled.Mangkhut will keep to a northwesterly track, bringing heavy rain and winds when it enters the autonomous region of Guangxi early on Monday, before weakening into a tropical depression as it arrives in southwestern Yunnan on Tuesday.(Reporting by James Pomfret, Anne Marie Roantree and Farah Master; Additional reporting by Martin Petty in MANILA and Ryan Woo and Meng Meng in BEIJING; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
Trump Fumes Over Puerto Rico Toll As Death Count Rises For Hurricane FlorenceCarla Herreria,•Trump Fumes Over Puerto Rico Toll As Death Count Rises For Hurricane Florence As Tropical Storm Florence thrashed through the East Coast on Friday,As Tropical Storm Florence thrashed through the East Coast on Friday, resulting in at least five deaths, President Donald Trump took time to dispute once again the number of deaths caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico a year ago.After tweeting praise of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and first responders working during Florence, Trump ranted over a government-commissioned study published last month that reported that nearly 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico as a result of hurricane damage.In a tweet, Trump noted a Washington Post article that said officials in Puerto Rico told the president last October that 16 people had died in Hurricane Maria.“This was long AFTER the hurricane took place. Over many months it went to 64 PEOPLE,” he wrote. “Then, like magic, ’3000 PEOPLE KILLED.’”“They hired GWU Research to tell them how many people had died in Puerto Rico (how would they not know this?),” Trump added. “FIFTY TIMES LAST ORIGINAL NUMBER – NO WAY!”The rant about the George Washington University report echoed a tweet from a day earlier in which he accused Democrats of making up the death toll to make him “look as bad as possible,” without providing any proof.Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump“When Trump visited the island territory last October, OFFICIALS told him in a briefing 16 PEOPLE had died from Maria.” The Washington Post. This was long AFTER the hurricane took place. Over many months it went to 64 PEOPLE. Then, like magic, “3000 PEOPLE KILLED.” They hired….Earlier Friday, Trump quoted several of his allies supporting his theory that Puerto Rico’s government faked the death count.One tweet quoted political commentator and frequent Fox News guest Geraldo Rivera as claiming that the reported deaths were “political agenda couched in the nice language of journalism.”A second tweet, shared two hours later, quoted Fox Business News anchor Lou Dobbs calling Puerto Rico “one of the most corrupt governments in our country.”Trump first denied Puerto Rico’s death totals with a pair of tweets on Thursday, prompting Democrats and a few Republicans to denounce his claims.Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) said he disagreed with the president, noting that he’d visited Puerto Rico “7 times & saw devastation firsthand.”Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) also rebuked Trump’s denial, decrying the “incredibly disheartening comments from our president.”George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health completed the study for the government of Puerto Rico in order to prepare the island territory for the current hurricane season. In a statement Thursday, the Milken Institute defended its research.“We stand by the science underlying our study,” the statement said. “This study, commissioned by the Government of Puerto Rico, was carried out with complete independence and freedom from any kind of interference.”The institute called Hurricane Maria a “deadly storm” that “affected the entire island but hit the poor and the elderly the hardest.”“We are confident that the number ― 2,975 ― is the most accurate and unbiased estimate of excess mortality to date,” the statement continued.Other independent investigations into Hurricane Maria’s effect on Puerto Rico have also estimated death tolls in the thousands, including ones by The New York Times, Penn State University and Harvard University.Trump’s Puerto Rico tweets were flanked by retweets from FEMA, the National Weather Service and other emergency agencies. Late Friday, the president chimed in once more on Twitter to complain about President Barack Obama and the media.By Friday night, Florence, which had been downgraded from a hurricane, had dumped nearly 20 inches of rain in parts of North Carolina. Storm surge in Pamlico Sound in the Outer Banks flooded the downtown area. At least 360 people who ignored a mandatory evacuation order in New Bern had to be rescued, according to the Charlotte Observer.At least five people’s deaths in North Carolina are linked to the hurricane, including a mother and baby who were killed when a tree fell on their house in Wilmington.Weather officials warned that more rain is expected.
The Hurricane Shark Hoax Is Back Again For Florence — Don’t Get Hooked
During every hurricane, Scottish journalist Jason Michael McCann enjoys trolling the internet with a particular photo. It always purports to show a shark swimming down the street or highway. The idea is that floodwaters have risen so high in the midst of a big storm that sharks are now making their way onto land.Well, it’s completely fake.And McCann will be the first to tell you that.“Of course I knew it was fake,” McCann told BuzzFeed last year after tweeting the image out during Hurricane Harvey. “It was part of the reason I shared the bloomin’ thing.”Though it began as a joke for his Twitter followers, part of McCann’s motivation for his subsequent tweets of the image is specifically because it’s fake. McCann says he got into journalism because he didn’t trust the news he was getting.“We are responsible for how we receive the information we’re getting,” McCann said. “If people choose to be fooled by a shark swimming by a car, I don’t think it says a great deal about me.”Touché.According to Snopes, the fake image dates back to August of 2011 when Hurricane Irene hit Puerto Rico. Snopes debunked the cleverly composited “hurricane shark” photo soon after.There’s plenty to worry about during a hurricane, but sharks swimming on the highway are not one of them.
Hurricane Florence churned toward the East Coast this week. Evacuations orderswere in place in South and North Carolina and Virginia as concerns mounted over coastal ocean surges, strong winds and flooding. Gas prices rose as people prepared for the powerful storm to make landfall. NASA even recorded „a stark and sobering” video of the hurricane from the International Space Station.Other major headlines of the week included the 17th anniversary of the 9/11terror attacks, multiple house fires and explosions in Massachusetts and a white Dallas police officer being arrested on a manslaughter warrant in the fatal shooting of a black man at his home.Click through the slideshow above to see photos from all of these events and more, and be sure to check back next weekend for our selection of the best photography from the week.