Japan braces for powerful storm at peak holiday period

Japanese Meteorological Agency said the storm, Krosa, may peak at a maximum of 144km per hour. (AFP)
Updated 14 August 2019

Japan braces for powerful storm at peak holiday period

  • Japan Airlines cancelled 62 domestic flights connected to the southern parts of the country
  • Local Meteorological Agency warned that the storm may cause heavy rain and landfalls

TOKYO: Japan was bracing Wednesday for a severe tropical storm expected to bring heavy rain and strong winds during the peak holiday period, with dozens of flights and bullet train services canceled.
The storm, named Krosa, is expected to churn slowly over western parts of the country, potentially affecting millions of people returning to major cities from their hometowns after the traditional “Obon” summer holidays.
Japan Airlines scrapped 62 domestic flights to and from airports in southern Japan for Wednesday.
“All the flights from and to Miyazaki and Tanegashima airports have been canceled and partially for Amami airport,” a spokesman told AFP.
All Nippon Airways meanwhile canceled 34 flights for Miyazaki airport. Both airlines said they would decide later how many flights they will cancel for Thursday, when the storm is forecast to make landfall.
Meanwhile, West Japan Railway announced the cancelation of Thursday’s shinkansen bullet train service between Osaka and southwestern Japan.
Krosa, which is packing maximum gusts of 144 kilometers per hour, was expected to hit the southwestern Shikoku island on Thursday before moving across western Japan, the Japanese Meteorological Agency said.
The agency warned of the risk of landslides and flooding due to heavy rain.


Campaigning for Sri Lanka presidential election ends

Updated 14 November 2019

Campaigning for Sri Lanka presidential election ends

COLOMBO: Campaigning for Sri Lanka’s Nov. 16 presidential elections came to an end on Wednesday.

Competition is tight between the United National Front’s (UNF) candidate, Sajith Premadasa, and former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna.

Rajapaksa’s final rally took place in the town of Homagama on Wednesday evening, while Premadasa concluded his campaign in Colombo.

Thus far, 35 candidates have submitted their nominations, while two — Milroy Fernando and Dr. I.M. Illyas — have openly urged supporters to vote for Premadasa.

In comments to the media on Wednesday, Mahinda Deshapriya, chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, said all candidates have been requested to attend a special meeting on Thursday to be briefed about the electoral process, including the counting of votes and the announcement of results.

The commission urged the candidates not to partake in any promotional activities on social media.

It has received 3,729 complaints pertaining to vandalism and violation of laws, leading up to the elections, with 27 cases of violence reported. Additionally, 3,596 election law violations were reported.

To address these concerns, the commission is setting up complaints offices at the Elections Secretariat in Rajagiriya and all other district offices.

Ali Sabry, chief legal adviser to Gotabaya, told Arab News that a proven track record will propel Gotabaya to victory.

Sabry added that Gotabaya is taking credit for eliminating terrorism in Sri Lanka. Industry and Commerce Minister Rishath Bathiudeen, who was involved in Premadasa’s political campaign, told Arab News that he is hopeful about his candidate’s chances.

Bathiudeen, who is the leader of the All Ceylon Makkal Congress, said Premadasa would garner 95 percent of the Muslim vote and a majority of Tamil votes.

Azath Salley, leader of the National Unity Alliance, said: “The majority of the Tamil and Muslim communities are with … Premadasa.”

Meanwhile, the chair of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, N. M. Amin, said this is the first time that incidents of election violence are few and far between.

Meanwhile, a group deployed by the Commonwealth to observe the presidential elections has called on stakeholders to demonstrate a commitment to a “peaceful, transparent, credible and inclusive” poll.

The Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) was invited by the Election Commission of Sri Lanka to observe the poll.

The COG will receive briefings from relevant stakeholders including election management officials, representatives of political parties, civil society groups, the police, members of the international community, citizens and international observers.

In a statement, COG Chair Prosper Bani said: “As independent observers, we will remain objective and impartial in discharging our duties. The Group’s assessment will be its own and not that of any Commonwealth member country. We hope that our group’s presence will support the strengthening of democracy in Sri Lanka.”