World News Briefs For Saturday, 9 September 2017
Hello Australia!! - Hurricane Irma could get even stronger before it strikes Florida, and officials plead with people to leave - A horror rat attack in France - Dozens die in Mexico's worst earthquake in decades - Nobel Laureates practically beg Myanmar's Suu Kyi to live up to her past reputation - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
The death toll in Mexico's strongest earthquake in 80 years has risen to 58 lives lost, and there are more casualties expected with more thorough assessments of damage closer to the epicenter. The magnitude 8.1 quake struck overnight in the Pacific Ocean just off the southwest coast. The worst-hit states - Tabasco, Oaxaca, and Chiapas - are in the south, and many people are feared trapped under rubble. Juchitan, in Oaxaca, was particularly hit hard and has had at least 17 deaths reported. The town hall and a number of other buildings were destroyed or badly damaged. This comes as a Category One Cyclone Hurricane Katia is bearing down on the Gulf Coast of Mexico near Tampico.
Forecasters now say that Hurricane Irma could strengthen to a Category Five Cyclone when it hits the US this weekend. More than half a million people have been ordered to evacuate the Miami area, it's one of the largest evacuations in history. "This is a catastrophic storm like our state has never seen," said Florida Governor Rick Scott. US Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long said, "Hurricane Irma continues to be a threat that is going to devastate the United States in either Florida or some of the south-eastern states." Officials believe that people need to get on the road by midnight local time, because of gasoline shortages and traffic jams. For those who can't, there are emergency shelters set up throughout the state - but people are urged to get there ASAP.
Hurricane Irma is blamed for at least 22 deaths in the Caribbean, and several people are missing. Here are links to video of destruction in Tortola, and the British Virgin Islands. Cuba's north coast resorts are evacuated. French officials estimate that six out of 10 homes on Saint-Martin were so badly damaged that they were uninhabitable. On the Dutch side of the island, there are claims that law and order has broken down and islanders are looting what they can, although we'll see if that's just alarmist claims from over-privileged arsehole racist Europeans trying to create a sense of urgency to get the attention of their distant colonial government. Because no place else is reporting such activity. Anyway, French, British, and Dutch are sending aid in the form of food, water and troops to their respective territories. They've got to get their quickly, because Hurricane Jose is in the Atlantic and expected to follow a similar path as Irma.
Officials have doubled estimates of the number of Rohingya refugees who've fled Myanmar for refugee camps in Bangladesh over the last two weeks to more than 270,000, with thousands more arriving daily. That represents about a quarter of the total Rohingya Muslim population. "The vast majority are women, including mothers with newborn babies, families with children" according to the UN High Commission on Refugees, "They arrive in poor condition, exhausted, hungry and desperate for shelter." They're fleeing what appears to be a gruesome campaign of ethnic cleansing carried out by Myanmar security forces and ethnic majority Burmese mobs. Rohingya have lived in in Buddhist-majority Burma since pre-colonial times - before 1824 - but nationalists incorrectly refer to them as "Bengalis", feeding a myth they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
Nobel Peace Prize Laureates are stepping up pressure on Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to protect the Rohingya. Malala Yousafzai spoke up again, telling the BBC: "We can't be silent right now. The number of people who have been displaced is hundreds of thousands," and, "We need to wake up and respond to it - and I hope that Aung Sang Suu Kyi responds to it as well." South Africa's Bishop Desmond Tutu said, "The images we are seeing of the suffering of the Rohingya fill us with pain and dread," and directed to Suu Kyi: "My dear sister: If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep."
Others have suggested that Suu Kyi's Nobel Peace Prize be revoked, as has been demanded by an online petition signed by more than 386,000 people on Change.org - but the Nobel committee says there is nothing in the will of prize founder Alfred Nobel nor the Nobel Foundation's rules provide for the possibility of withdrawing the honor from laureates.
Australian troops are off to the Philippines to train local troops to fight Islamist extremists who are trying to establish a base in the city of Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao. Defense Minister Marise Payne announced this on a visit to Manila, noting that the small number of Australian troops will be confined to Philippines military bases and will not fight alongside local soldiers.
Anti-government protests have continued in the west African nation of Togo for a third day, with clashes between opposition supporters and police. The opposition wants President Faure Gnassingbe to step down after 12 years in power. He succeeded his father who governed for 38 years.
The Israeli Attorney General said he is likely to indict the wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on fraud charges. Sara Netanyahu is suspected of diverting more than AU$150,000 in public funds to spend on catered meals and other items to furnish her lavish lifestyle. Often derisively portrayed by the local media as a sort of Marie Antoinette, Ms. Netanyahu denies the charges.
A French man is suing his landlord after his paraplegic daughter was mutilated by rats on their home. The family woke up to find the girl "drenched in blood", with hundreds of bites on her head, hands, and feet - with irreparable damage to her fingers. The father claims the landlord regularly fails to clear garbage from the home's perimeter, which attracts the vermin.
Country Music performer Troy Gentry is dead in a helicopter crash in a wooded area in southern New Jersey. His band Montgomery Gentry was due to perform at an airport resort on Friday night in the eastern US. The band was big in the 2000s with such hits as "Roll With Me," ''Back When I Knew It All," and ''Lucky Man".