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.


China tests Mars lander in international cooperation push

Updated 18 min 8 sec ago

China tests Mars lander in international cooperation push

  • China plans to launch a lander and rover to Mars next year to explore parts of the planet in detail
  • China’s burgeoning space program achieved a lunar milestone earlier this year by landing a probe on the mysterious far side of the moon

HUAILAI, China: China invited international observers to a Thursday test of its Mars lander as it pushes for inclusion in more global space projects.

The demonstration of hovering, obstacle avoidance and deceleration capabilities was conducted at a site outside Beijing simulating conditions on the Red Planet, where the pull of gravity is about one-third that of Earth.

China plans to launch a lander and rover to Mars next year to explore parts of the planet in detail.

China’s burgeoning space program achieved a lunar milestone earlier this year by landing a probe on the mysterious far side of the moon.

It has developed rapidly, especially since it conducted its first crewed mission in 2003 and has sought cooperation with space agencies from Europe and elsewhere.

The US, however, has banned most space cooperation with China out of national security concerns, keeping China from participating in the International Space Station.

Despite that, China’s ambitions continue to grow as it seeks to rival the US, Russia and Europe in space and cement its position as a regional and global power.

Guests at Thursday’s event came from 19 countries and included the ambassadors of Brazil, France and Italy.

“This event is the first public appearance of China’s Mars exploration mission, also an important measure for China to pragmatically carry out space international exchanges and cooperation,” the China National Space Administration said in a news release.