Super Typhoon Mangkhut smashes into Philippines

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Motorists brave the rain and strong winds brought about by Typhoon Mangkhut which barrelled into northeastern Philippines before dawn Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018 in Manila, Philippines. (AP)
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Commuters brave the rain and strong winds brought about by Typhoon Mangkhut which barrelled into northeastern Philippines before dawn Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, in Manila, Philippines. (AP)
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Commuters brave the rain and strong winds brought about by Typhoon Mangkhut which barrelled into northeastern Philippines before dawn Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, in Manila, Philippines. (AP)
Updated 15 September 2018
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Super Typhoon Mangkhut smashes into Philippines

  • An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people and leaving millions in near-perpetual poverty
  • The storm is not forecast to directly hit Hong Kong, though it will feel Mangkhut’s wind and rain through Sunday

TUGUEGARAO, Philippines: Super Typhoon Mangkhut slammed into the northern Philippines on Saturday with violent winds and torrential rains, as authorities warned millions in its path of potentially heavy destruction.
The massive storm, which forecasters have called the strongest typhoon this year, blew in windows, hurled debris and knocked out power lines when it made landfall on the island of Luzon in the pre-dawn darkness.
It packed powerful gusts of up to 255 kilometers (160 miles) per hour and sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour while heading west across the disaster-prone archipelago toward China.
“As much as possible, stay indoors,” Chris Perez, a forecaster for the state weather service, warned the roughly four million people in the path of the storm after it landed at 1:40 am (1740 Friday GMT).
An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people and leaving millions in near-perpetual poverty.
Thousands of people fled their homes in high-risk areas ahead of the storm’s arrival because of major flooding and landslide risks.
Authorities hiked the storm alert on Friday to its second highest level in northern Luzon provinces and mobilized rescue teams.
The elevated warning level carried risks of “very heavy” damage to communities hit by the typhoon and a storm surge that was forecast to hit six meters in some areas, the weather service said.
Residents started lashing down their roofs and gathering supplies days before the arrival of the storm that forecasters said is the most powerful of 2018.

“Among all the typhoons this year, this one (Mangkhut) is the strongest,” Japan Meteorological Agency forecaster Hiroshi Ishihara told AFP on Friday.
“This is a violent typhoon. It has the strongest sustained wind (among the typhoons of this year),” he added.
After blasting the Philippines, Mangkhut is predicted to hurtle toward China’s heavily populated southern coast this weekend.
“They (authorities) said this typhoon is twice as strong as the last typhoon, that’s why we are terrified,” Myrna Parallag, 53, told AFP after fleeing her home in the northern Philippines.
“We learned our lesson last time. The water reached our roof,” she said, referring to when her family rode out a typhoon at home in 2016.
The country’s deadliest on record is Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,350 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in November 2013.
Poor communities reliant on fishing are some of the most vulnerable to fierce typhoon winds and the storm surges that pound the coast.
“The rains will be strong and the winds are no joke... We may have a storm surge that could reach four storys high,” Michael Conag, a spokesman for local civil defense authorities, told AFP.
The storm is not forecast to directly hit Hong Kong, though it will feel Mangkhut’s wind and rain through Sunday.
However, the Hong Kong Observatory warned that the massive typhoon will pose a “severe threat” to China’s southern coast before moving on to northern Vietnam.


Pope Francis during Easter vigil: reject the ‘glitter of wealth’

Updated 15 min 11 sec ago
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Pope Francis during Easter vigil: reject the ‘glitter of wealth’

VATICAN CITY: At an Easter vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis on Saturday encouraged people to resist cynicism or pursuing the “glitter of wealth,” and to avoid seeking life’s meaning in “things that pass away.”
“Do not bury hope!” Francis exclaimed, after noting that when things go badly, “we lose heart and come to believe that death is stronger than life.”
“We become cynical, negative and despondent,” Francis added.
For Christians, Easter is a day of joy and hope, as they mark their belief that Jesus triumphed over death by resurrection following crucifixion.
“Sin seduces; it promises things easy and quick, prosperity and success, but leaves behind only solitude and death,” the pope said. “Sin is looking for life among the dead, for the meaning of life in things that pass away.”
Encouraging the faithful, Francis said: “Why not prefer Jesus, the true light, to the glitter of wealth, career, pride and pleasure?“
At the start of the ceremony on Easter’s eve, Francis, dressed in white robes, slowly carried a lit candle up the aisle of a darkened St. Peter’s Basilica. At the chant in Latin for “light of Christ, the basilica’s lights were suddenly switched on in a dramatic tradition.
Arrayed before the steps of the altar was a row of cardinals, wearing ivory robes. Behind them in the pews sat diplomats with their spouses and thousands of rank-and-file Catholics, tourists and pilgrims among them.
Among those in the basilica were eight adults who were baptized by the pope during the Mass. The Vatican said these new faithful are from Italy, Albania, Ecuador, Indonesia and Peru. From a shell-shaped silver dish, Francis poured holy water over the bowed heads of the three men and five women, after they walked up to him, one by one, and listened to him calling their first names.
On Sunday, Francis celebrates Easter Mass in late morning in St. Peter’s Square and gives a speech from the basilica balcony. Known by its Latin name “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and to the world), the speech is an occasion to reflect on the world’s war-ravaged and other tense spots while paying tribute to Catholics’ practicing their faith sometimes in the face of persecution or other difficulties.