Second storm hits Hong Kong and Macau amid typhoon recovery

People use umbrellas during heavy rain as severe tropical storm Pakhar passes over Macau on Sunday. (AFP)
Updated 27 August 2017
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Second storm hits Hong Kong and Macau amid typhoon recovery

HONG KONG: A powerful storm lashed Hong Kong and Macau on Sunday, just days after a punishing typhoon swept through southern China and claimed at least 18 lives.
Both cities raised a Typhoon 8 signal, the third-highest warning level, early Sunday morning as severe tropical storm “Pakhar” made landfall in the region, where emergency workers are still battling to repair Wednesday’s damage.
Hong Kong’s flagship carrier Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon canceled 50 flights on Sunday morning and are expecting more delays and cancelations.
All ferry services in Hong Kong were suspended.
The Typhoon 8 storm warning level would typically shut down Hong Kong’s stock market, schools and businesses.
Packing winds of up to 130 kilometers (80 miles) per hour, Pakhar — named after a freshwater fish in the lower Mekong river — smashed into southern China as worst-hit Macau was still picking up the pieces after Typhoon Hato.
Hato ripped through the gambling hub Wednesday, plunging casinos into darkness and causing destructive floods.
The official death toll in Macau reached 10, as the enclave’s government faces recriminations over its lack of preparation.
A further eight people are known to have died from Typhoon Hato in the neighboring Chinese mainland province of Guangdong.
Hong Kong and Macau both raised the most severe Typhoon 10 warning last week, only the third time a storm of this power had pounded Hong Kong in the past 20 years.
In Macau, it was the strongest typhoon in 53 years, according to the city government.
Pakhar, which also brought occasional heavy rain, is expected to persist for most of Sunday morning, moving toward the Pearl River Estuary, the Hong Kong Observatory said.
Summer is typhoon season for Hong Kong, which can experience storms of such severity that the entire city shuts down.


Japan halts missile drills after Trump-Kim summit

Updated 21 June 2018
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Japan halts missile drills after Trump-Kim summit

TOKYO: Japan has halted evacuation drills simulating a North Korean missile attack in the wake of historic talks between Washington and Pyongyang, local media reported Thursday.
Government officials did not immediately confirm the reports, but authorities in one town said they were suspending a drill planned for next week on orders from Tokyo.
The decision comes after US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un met last week in Singapore, with the pair signing a joint document calling for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Yaita in Tochigi prefecture north of Tokyo had been planning an evacuation drill for next week involving some 800 residents including 350 school children, city official Yutaka Yanagida said.
But the city suddenly canceled all preparations late Wednesday after being instructed by the government that “drills should be postponed for the time being following a change in the environment after the US-North Korea summit,” he said.
Contacted by AFP, a Cabinet Office official said the government would announce its policy on evacuation drills on Friday, declining to comment further.
Last year, Pyongyang fired two missiles over Japan and it has splashed others into the sea near the country, sparking a mix of panic and outrage.
Earlier this year, hundreds of Tokyo residents scrambled for cover in the Japanese capital’s first evacuation drill for a military attack by Pyongyang.
North Korea has singled out Japan, a key US ally in the region, for verbal attacks, threatening to “sink” the country into the sea and to turn it into “ashes.”
But the regional mood has turned toward diplomacy since the Winter Olympics hosted by South Korea, which set off a series of diplomatic moves culminating in the Trump-Kim meet.