Hurricane records broken in 2017

Updated 08 September 2017
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Hurricane records broken in 2017

PARIS: Not even halfway into the 2017 hurricane season, and before Irma makes landfall in Florida, tropical mega-storms in the Atlantic basin have already broken several records, and challenged others, experts say.
A few that stand out, so far:


Irma
As it swept across the Caribbean, Hurricane Irma generated winds averaging just over 295 kilometers per hour (185 miles per hour) for more than 33 hours, longer than any super-storm of comparable power ever recorded.
“Such an intensity, for such a long period, has never been observed in the satellite era” that began in the early 1970s, Etienne Kapikian, a forecaster at Meteo France, said.
The runner up is Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,000 people dead or missing in the Philippines and packed winds of the same speed for 24 hours in 2013.
Irma was the first hurricane on record to reach Category 5 status — the highest intensity level — while still in the Atlantic Ocean, before entering the balmy waters of the Caribbean Sea, according to the US National Hurricane Center.
Tropical storms draw strength from surface waters warmer than 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit).
The fact that the swirling mass of clouds and water was able to turbo-charge over the Atlantic — whose waters are cooler than the Caribbean but warmer than a few decades ago — is consistent with global warming, scientists say.
Category 5 tropical storms produce sustained winds of at least 252 km/h for at least a minute at a time. Irma has since dropped down to Category 4.
Hurricane Irma has so far caused more than $10 billion (8.3 billion euros) in economic losses across the Caribbean, making it the costliest storm ever for the region’s island nations and territories, according to the Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology, based in Karlsruhe, Germany.
The tally is sure to rise as the storm hits the Bahamas on its way to Florida, but it has already surpassed the damage record set by Hurricanes Ike in 2008, and Hugo in 1989, at $9.4 billion each in today’s dollars.
Hardest hit by Irma were Sint Maarten ($2.5 billion) and the US Virgin Islands ($2.45 billion), followed by Saint Martin ($1.55 billion) and the British Virgin Islands ($1.4 billion), according to the estimate.


Harvey
Tropical storm Harvey — which made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 hurricane on August 25 — dumped more rain in places than any cyclone ever measured on the continental United States.
In one area southeast of Houston, Harvey unloaded more than 125 centimeters of water (nearly 50 inches), breaking the previous record (122 cm) set by cyclone Amelia.
The highest sustained wind speed ever registered for an Atlantic basin storm was 305 km/h (190 mph), for Hurricane Allen, which caused several hundred deaths in Haiti and over a billion dollars in damage.
With consistent winds of 295 km/h, Irma shares the title of second-fastest hurricane with Wilma (2005), Gilbert (1988) and the notorious “Labor Day” storm that devastated southern Florida in 1935.


Jose
Along with Irma, the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico is host to two other hurricanes: the Category 4 Jose, projected to leave inhabited islands largely untouched on its northwest trajectory, and Category 2 Katia, due to make landfall in the Mexican state of Veracruz.
Three-at-once is not unprecedented, but it is rare — it last occurred in 2010. Those storms, however, spun harmlessly in the Atlantic, while this time, two of them are hitting land.
The event of four active hurricanes hitting at one time has happened twice — in 1893 and 1998 when Hurricanes Georges, Ivan, Jeanne and Karl all raged simultaneously.


France’s Nicolas Sarkozy loses bid to avoid influence peddling trial

Updated 19 June 2019
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France’s Nicolas Sarkozy loses bid to avoid influence peddling trial

  • Sarkozy is accused of offering to help a judge win promotion
  • Sarkozy’s lawyers have previously argued that magistrates investigating the alleged secret Libyan funding exceeded their powers

PARIS: Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy will stand trial for influence peddling after the country's highest court rejected his final bid to have the case thrown out, his lawyer said on Wednesday.
Sarkozy is accused of offering to help a judge win promotion in return for leaked information about a separate inquiry. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
The case came about after investigators used phone-taps to examine allegations that late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi funded Sarkozy’s successful campaign for the presidency in 2007.
As they eavesdropped on his calls, the investigators began to suspect the former president had offered the judge promotion in return for information on another investigation involving allegations Sarkozy accepted illicit payments from L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt for the same campaign.
Sarkozy’s lawyers have previously argued that magistrates investigating the alleged secret Libyan funding exceeded their powers and went on a “fishing expedition” by tapping his conversations between September 2013 and March 2014, breaching lawyer-client privilege.
He was cleared over the Bettencourt allegations.
On Wednesday, his defence team said the use in this case of wiretapped remarks gleaned in relation to a different investigation contravened a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.
"These legal issues are still relevant," Sarkozy lawyer Jacqueline Laffont said. "It will be for the court to decide whether a French court can override a decision of the European Court of Human Rights."
Wednesday's ruling that the trial proceed came from the 'Cour de Cassation', which decides whether an earlier decision by an appeals court conforms with French law.