Japanese heat wave pushes temperature to record

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People cool down in a swimming pool at Toshimaen amusement park in Tokyo on July 23, 2018. (AFP)
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A kimono-clad woman using a sun umbrella walks on a street during a heatwave in Tokyo, Japan July 23, 2018. (REUTERS)
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People shade themselves from the heat of the sun with umbrellas as they pass the Ginza shopping district in Tokyo, Monday, July 23, 2018. (AP)
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Japan’s severe heatwave killed at least 15 people and sent more than 12,000 to hospital in the first two weeks of July, official figures show as the temperature neared 40C. (AFP/Kazuhiro Nogi)
Updated 24 July 2018
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Japanese heat wave pushes temperature to record

  • More than 9,900 people were rushed to hospital during the week to mid-July
  • Kyodo News agency reported that at least 11 people, mostly elderly citizens, died on Saturday

TOKYO: The temperature rose to a record 41.1 Celsius (106 Fahrenheit) in a city northwest of Tokyo on Monday, as a heat wave in Japan that has killed at least 23 people and sent thousands to hospital showed no sign of significant easing.
The temperature was recorded in Kumagaya, in Saitama prefecture, topping the previous high of 41C in the western prefecture of Kochi in August 2013, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
Records go back to varying dates for different cities, with data for Kumagaya starting in 1896.
Japan has been battered by intense heat for close to two weeks but the mercury soared on Monday, breaking above 40 in one part of the broader Tokyo metropolitan area, while the center of the capital marked a high of 39 in the early afternoon.
According to the Fire and Defense Management Agency, which issues weekly data, 12 people had died from the heat as of July 15, the latest available figures. Media reports say at least 11 more died this past Saturday alone, while thousands have been taken to hospital.
Among the dead was a primary school boy who collapsed after a field trip to a park 20 minutes’ walk from his school.
Temperatures in the ancient capital of Kyoto marked a record last week of seven straight days above 38 degrees, hitting 39.8 on July 19, and prompting the city to cancel one of its biggest annual tourist events, a parade for the Gion Matsuri, on Sunday.
With the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2020, concern has risen about the safety of athletes and spectators.
The heat, due to a layering of two high pressure systems over much of Japan, is expected to ease slightly this week but temperatures of around 33 are expected. 


Survivors: Up to 117 migrants missing in capsizing off Libya

Updated 19 January 2019
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Survivors: Up to 117 migrants missing in capsizing off Libya

  • The migrants came mainly from west Africa
  • The Italian navy said it had alerted Libyan authorities who coordinated rescue operations

MILAN: A rescue official says survivors have told rescuers that up to 117 migrants might have died when a rubber dinghy capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off Libya.
Flavio Di Giacomo of International Organization for Migration says three survivors were plucked to safety by an Italian navy helicopter on Friday, and they say 120 were aboard when the dinghy left Libya.

He said the people came mainly from west Africa, adding: “Ten women including a pregnant girl were aboard and two children, one of whom was only two months old.”
The navy says its airplane launched life rafts after it spotted the sinking dinghy Friday with about 20 people aboard. It wasn't immediately clear if some migrants had already fallen off.
The Italian Coast Guard says Libya asked a nearby cargo ship to search for survivors, but no one was found.
The Italian news agency ANSA quoted Libyan authorities as saying a dispatched Libyan coast guard boat turned back after mechanical problems.
According to the IOM, 2,297 migrants died or went missing in the Mediterranean last year, out of a total of 116,959 people who reached Europe by sea.
Arrivals in the first 16 days of 2019 totalled 4,449, almost all by sea, compared with 2,964 in the same period of 2018.
“As long as European ports will remain open ... sea-traffickers will continue to do business and kill people,” Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said in a Facebook post late on Friday.
Since Italy’s populist government came to power in June, Salvini, leader of the anti-migrant League, has closed Italian ports to humanitarian vessels.