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Warning as tropical low nears

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:31 am




Warning as tropical low nears


QĐND – Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 20:18 (GMT+7)

A low tropical pressure formed to the west of the Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago is forecast to bring strong winds and heavy rains to coastal provinces from Quang Ngai to Ca Mau and Kien Giang, according to the National Hydro-meteorological Forecast Centre.


The pressure is moving towards west at a speed of between 5-10kph, 110km east of Ninh Thuan and Ba Ria-Vung Tau provinces at 7am on Dec. 14 with wind gust of 39-49kph.


The National Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention and Control has instructed flood and storm prevention and control departments at coastal provinces from Quang Ngai to Ca Mau, Kien Giang and relevant ministries and agencies to take measures to prepare for the low pressure.


They were required to audit at sea vessels and inform owners of boats operating offshore of any dangerous developments in the low pressure.


They were also instructed to maintain rescue forces on high alert and keep close watch over the progress of the low pressure and maintain contact with off-shore vessels.


The forecast centre said a cold spell is forecast to hit the northern region on Dec. 14 and bring heavy showers to the northern and north-central regions.


The mountainous province of Lao Cai in particular will experience a temperature of between 11-13 degrees Celsius while temperatures in the town of Sa Pa town are expected to drop to between 2-4 degrees Celsius.


The centre also warned of a high risk of ice and snow along Sapa’s O Quy Ho mountain pass in the next few days.


Source: VNA


Source: QDND

China evacuates at least 160,000 as typhoon nears

In Uncategorized on October 21, 2010 at 11:52 am

BEIJING, Oct 21, 2010 (AFP) – China has evacuated at least 160,000 people from the projected path of Typhoon Megi, authorities said Thursday as they braced for the strongest northwest Pacific storm since 1990.


More than 150,000 people have been evacuated in Fujian province in China’s southeast and tens of thousands of fishing boats were called back to port, Xinhua news agency quoted the province’s flood control authorities as saying.

A handout photo taken on October 19, 2010 and released on October 21 by National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) shows a worker inspecting mangled electric pylons near Gamu and Isabela towns north of Manila, destroyed by Typhoon Megi. AFP

At least another 10,000 were evacuated in neighbouring Guangdong province, authorities there said.


Chinese authorities on Wednesday also halted rail services in some areas as they awaited Megi, which has already wreaked havoc in the Philippines, killing at least 27 people.


It is now making its way towards southern China, where it is expected to make landfall along the Guangdong-Fujian coast by the weekend.


“We expect that the strong winds and torrential rain brought by Megi will increase the probability of geological disasters happening in the south such as floods, land and mudslides,” the National Meteorological Centre said.

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Source: SGGP

Australian teen nears end of round-the-world sail

In Uncategorized on May 13, 2010 at 8:50 am

After seven months at sea, an Australian teen on Thursday was just two days away from reaching the finish line in her bid to become the youngest person to sail solo, nonstop and unassisted around the world.


Thousands are expected to line Sydney Harbour on Saturday to offer a hero’s welcome to 16-year-old Jessica Watson, who has battled 40-foot (12-meter) waves, multiple knockdowns and critics who called her too immature and inexperienced for the treacherous journey.


“You’ve got to have a goal, you’ve got to go for something,” Watson told The Associated Press last June, a few months before she set out in her pink 34-foot (10-meter) yacht for the nearly 23,000 nautical mile voyage. “I have the experience, I have the team, I have the preparations. I think I can do it.”

In this file photo from Oct. 18, 2009, teenage sailor Jessica Watson walks to her boat after her final shower on land as she prepares to depart Sydney on her boat Ella’s Pink Lady in an attempt to become the youngest person to sail non-stop, solo and unassisted, around the world.

Many thought she couldn’t, and her parents faced withering criticism from those who believed allowing a teenager to attempt such a feat was foolish, insane — even borderline criminal. But the couple repeatedly defended their decision, even after their daughter, who has been sailing since she was 8, collided with a merchant ship during a test run.


Watson, from Buderim, north of Brisbane in Queensland state, sailed out of Sydney on Oct. 18. She traveled northeast through the South Pacific and across the equator, then south to Cape Horn at the tip of South America, across the Atlantic Ocean to South Africa, through the Indian Ocean and around southern Australia. She has survived on prepackaged meals, the occasional freshly caught fish and a steady supply of chocolate.


Another Australian, Jesse Martin, who was 18 when he completed the journey in 1999, holds the current record for the youngest person to sail around the world solo, nonstop and unassisted. But Watson’s feat will not be considered an official world record, because the World Speed Sailing Record Council discontinued its “youngest” category.


Some sailing enthusiasts have also argued that Watson didn’t travel far enough north of the equator for her journey to count as a true round-the-world trek as defined by the record council’s rules. Watson’s management team has dismissed those claims and argued she doesn’t need to adhere to the council’s rules anyway, since they won’t be recognizing her voyage.


“Call me immature but I’ve actually been having a bit of a giggle over the whole thing,” Watson wrote on her blog last week. “If I haven’t been sailing around the world, then it beats me what I’ve been doing out here all this time!”


Sixteen-year-old American Abby Sunderland of Marina del Ray, California, launched her own solo round-the-world bid in January. In May, she had to pull into port in South Africa for boat repairs, ending her nonstop attempt. She still plans to try to complete her voyage.


Watson’s project manager Bruce Arms said he will sail out to the teen’s boat late Thursday night, and follow her to the finish line. Watson is scheduled to dock at the Opera House.


“We’ve just got to make sure that when she hops off the boat she’s not going to walk three steps and fall flat on her face,” he told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio on Thursday. “So I think everyone will be hanging onto her.”


Despite the teen’s excitement over reuniting with her family and her eagerness for a hot shower after months of cold, saltwater baths, Watson wrote on her blog Monday that she was sad her adventure was ending, and said she was nervous about how her life will change once she reaches dry land.


“But I’m not worried because I know that if I can find a reason to laugh while surrounded by huge waves, in the dark and after a knockdown, then I’ll be able to smile through whatever comes my way,” she wrote. “Oh dear I’m getting far too soppy and reflective, so I’d better finish up.”

Source: SGGP

Hopefuls fire last salvos as 2016 Olympic vote nears

In World on October 2, 2009 at 4:21 am

 Chicago, Rio, Tokyo and Madrid, the four cities hoping to host the 2016 Olympics, indulged in a hectic final day of lobbying Thursday, one day ahead of the International Olympic Committee vote.


While Chicago had Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama’s special advisor Valerie Jarrett pressing the flesh, Rio turned to their charismatic president Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva.


Madrid tried to defy their position as rank outsiders by sending into the fray Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and King Juan Carlos in a desperate last-ditch bid for the coveted prize. Related article: Playing Olympic politics


Dark horses Tokyo were the odd ones out as they awaited the arrival of their newly-elected Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who left for Copenhagen late on Thursday.


Instead they relied in terms of heavyweight political muscle on maverick Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara to persuade wavering IOC voters to give them their second Olympics.








Olympic flags at the Bella Center in Copenhagen. Chicago, Rio, Tokyo and Madrid.

Jarrett, who was handed the responsibility taking charge of the first ever White House Office for Olympic, Paralympic and Youth Sport, told AFP that the President, who flies in on Friday morning for the presentation, saw the Olympics as a vital part of his diplomatic strategy.


“This (the bid and winning it) is very important to them (Obama and First Lady who is Chicago born and bred),” said 52-year-old Jarrett.


“But not just for Chicago and the United States. This to them is about diplomacy and reaching out to the world.


“They are committed to diplomacy and bringing together diverse communities and what better way of achieving that than through the Olympic Games,” added Jarrett.


However, one cloud on the Chicago team’s horizon was the small but determined anti-bid group ‘No Games’, led by grandmother and former teacher Rhoda Whitehorse, which is hoping to make its presence felt at the Bella Conference Center on Friday.


Lula, who has been at the forefront of promoting Rio’s bid to become the first South American city to host the Olympics, compared Rio’s rise to his ascent from humble origins to his country’s presidency.


Brazil has much more self esteem today, the country is experiencing a magical moment – even in this global crisis Brazil is better situated than better developed countries,” said the 63-year-old.


Madrid‘s bid has taken a recent battering, hence their odds generally of 16/1.


But Zapatero was in confident mood when he addressed the press, rather more so than when he told Spanish radio earlier this week that the bid was in difficulty.


“I arrived last night (Wednesday) and after my contacts (with the IOC) today I’m now fully immersed and a lot more optimistic than I was on Wednesday,” he said.


Ishihara was probably the most colourful of the politicians campaigning on Thursday.


His past acheivements have included being an award-winning novelist at 22 and an acclaimed writer of musicals, once even adapting Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island‘.


“It is the moment of truth,” said the 77-year-old former Minister for Transport and Governor since 1999.

“We have done our utmost efforts. The strongest pillar of it is found in (IOC president) Rogge’s comment that the Games are for athletes. We have the best conditions for athletes.”


Source: SGGP