Maria lashes US Virgin Islands as Puerto Rico prepares for impact

Winds lash the coastal city of Fajardo as Hurricane Maria approaches Puerto Rico, on Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 20 September 2017
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Maria lashes US Virgin Islands as Puerto Rico prepares for impact

St. John Island, United States: Hurricane Maria slammed into the US Virgin Islands Tuesday, lashing the archipelago with rain as Puerto Rico braced for the Category Five storm’s expected landfall on Wednesday.
On St. John Island, which was also battered by Hurricane Irma two weeks ago, locals reported seeing trees dramatically swaying in swirling winds, with rain pouring “sideways.”
Judi Buckley, former senator for St. Croix Island, traveled to St. John from her South Carolina home to help with the Irma relief effort — only to get caught up in Maria.
“Rain is coming through sideways and the trees are swaying,” she told AFP.
“We have become the Irma relief hub and our brothers and sisters across the pond can’t afford for us to be crippled,” she said, referring to those on St. Croix.
Maria’s 160 mile (255 kilometer) per hour winds had already roared into the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica Tuesday, with official communications to the island completely cut off in the wake of the storm.
“We have lost all what money can buy and replace,” Dominica’s premier Roosevelt Skerrit posted on Facebook.
But amateur radio operators on the island, home to 72,000 people, have been able to get word out about Maria’s impact — with some reporting downed trees and roofs of homes blown off.
Both a team of Trinidian authorities and a Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency team had to abort rescue and rehabilitation operations to Dominica due to continued intense winds. Both teams hoped to fly out Wednesday instead.
The US National Hurricane Center warned of a “potentially catastrophic” impact as Maria churned northwest toward the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico Tuesday — with Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rossello describing it as “the worst storm of the last century.”
US President Donald Trump vowed “help” to the island’s residents on Twitter, writing “Puerto Rico being hit hard by new monster Hurricane. Be careful, our hearts are with you- will be there to help!“


Comcast offers $31 billion for Sky, going head-to-head with Fox

Updated 15 min 12 sec ago
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Comcast offers $31 billion for Sky, going head-to-head with Fox

LONDON: US cable company Comcast Corp. submitted a £22 billion offer for pay-TV group Sky on Wednesday, challenging an already agreed but lower takeover bid from Rupert Murdoch’s Fox.
Comcast, which first outlined an offer at the same £12.50-a-share price in February, said it would continue to engage with the Sky’s independent directors with a view to obtaining a recommendation for its deal.
Twenty-First Century Fox, which already owns 39 percent of Sky, said it remained committed to its recommended cash offer for Sky announced on December 15, 2016, and was currently considering its options.
“A further announcement will be made in due course,” it said.
Fox’s £10.75-a-share deal has been held up to scrutiny by regulators, who have concerns about the influence Murdoch could wield through owning all of the broadcaster as well as his British newspapers.
In the meantime, Fox has agreed to sell many of its TV and film assets to Walt Disney, including its stake in Sky.
Comcast, the owner of NBC and Universal Pictures, said it was delighted to be formalizing its offer.
“We have long believed Sky is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Brian L. Roberts.
“Sky has a strong business, excellent customer loyalty, and a valued brand.”