Cyclone batters southwestern India coast killing 14, many missing

India’s Coast Guard and Navy have rescued about 223 fishermen and evacuated thousands of people from cyclone hit areas. (AFP)
Updated 02 December 2017
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Cyclone batters southwestern India coast killing 14, many missing

COLOMBO: Thousands took to relief camps in Sri Lanka and southern India on Saturday to escape rising floodwaters after a cyclone killed at least 26 people.
Cyclone Ockhi has left 13 people dead in Sri Lanka and killed an equal number in India’s Kerala and Tamil Nadu states since Friday as it churns in the Arabian Sea.
Eleven people, mostly fishermen, remained missing in the two countries as nearly 9,000 people sought shelter in relief camps.
Scores of localities suffered flooding and cut power and telephone lines as winds of up to 130 kilometers per hour swept the region.
Weather experts warned of more heavy rains to come, as the water level rose in several rivers in southern India.
The tiny Indian island of Lakshadweep off the country’s western coast braced for winds of 145 kilometers per hour.
The Sri Lankan disaster management center said 77,000 people in 16 districts have been affected, with the highest number in the southern Galle district.
Nearly 4,000 people are in Sri Lankan relief camps amid widespread destruction of property.
Authorities are on red alert in coastal areas, with five deaths already reported in Kanyakumari on the southern tip of India.
Schools and colleges in parts of India’s southern states have been shut as authorities try to restore nearly 4,000 snapped power lines.
The Kerala state emergency department said nearly 3,200 people were in relief camps. “Seven people died in several incidents and 218 were rescued from the sea,” an agency official said.
Weather officials said the storm was likely to move north into Tamil Nadu and the east coast state of Andhra Pradesh in the next four days.
India’s eastern coast — including major cities like Chennai and Bhubaneswar — are prone to storms that wreak immense damage between April and December.
In 1999, more than 8,000 people were killed when a cyclone battered the eastern state of Orissa.
While Cyclone Ockhi was said to be weakening, another tropical storm was brewing in the Bay of Bengal on the east coast, officials said.


Police fire tear gas as Greeks rally over Macedonia name deal

Updated 21 min 45 sec ago
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Police fire tear gas as Greeks rally over Macedonia name deal

  • Many Greeks believe the name Macedonia implies a territorial claim over their country's own northern region of that name

ATHENS: Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters outside parliament on Sunday as tens of thousands of Greeks rallied in Athens to protest against a name deal with Macedonia.
Central Athens turned into a sea of people holding blue and white Greek flags as thousands came from all over the country to rally against the accord to name the ex-Yugoslav state North Macedonia.
Many Greeks believe the name Macedonia implies a territorial claim over their country's own northern region of that name.
The issue evokes strong emotions among Greeks who consider Macedonia, the ancient kingdom ruled by Alexander the Great, to be an integral part of their homeland and heritage.
The accord, signed by the two governments, unblocks the ex-Yugoslav republic's desire to join NATO and the European Union once ratified by Greece's parliament.
"We cannot stomach this deal, to give away our Macedonia, our history," said pensioner Amalia Savrami, 67, as she waved a large Greek flag on Athens's Syntagma Square.
"Macedonia is Greek, period."
Locals said the Athens rally was the largest in decades, easily outdoing rallies against austerity in previous years.
Macedonia declared independence in 1991, avoiding the violence that accompanied much of the break-up of Yugoslavia. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has sought to accelerate the country's bid to join the EU and NATO and to work on resolving the decades-old name dispute with Greece.
Greece had agreed that until the name dispute is resolved, its northern neighbour, with a population of about 2 million, could be referred to internationally as "FYROM" - Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. That is the name under which it was admitted to the United Nations in 1993.
Settling the issue would be hailed as a success by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whose left-right coalition came to power in 2015. He won a confidence motion this month after the junior partner in his coalition pulled out.
The agreement with Skopje had strained relations with the right-wing Independent Greeks party, his coalition ally, which objected to the use of Macedonia in any agreed name.