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Winter storm pummels eastern United States, grounds flights

by admin   |   Posted on Friday, March 6th, 2015

A man shovels snow off of the sidewalk during a snow storm in New York March 3, 2015.
CREDIT: REUTERS/LUCAS JACKSON

(Reuters) – A late winter storm pummeled the eastern United States on Thursday ahead of a cold front, canceling almost 5,000 flights as Kentucky dug out from up to 23 inches (58 cm) of snow that had stranded hundreds of drivers.

Winter storm warnings and advisories were in place from the Middle Atlantic states into southern New England, as well as from the lower Mississippi Valley to the southern Appalachians, the National Weather Service said.

Up to 4 more inches (10 more cm) of snow are possible across the northern Middle Atlantic area late on Thursday before the storm tapers off, the weather service said.

A Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) plane arriving in heavy snow at New York’s LaGuardia Airport from Atlanta slid off the runway into a fence. No serious injuries were reported.

In Kentucky, Governor Steve Beshear declared a state of emergency as traffic halted on interstate highways, leaving hundreds of motorists stranded overnight.

About 30 miles (37 km) of Interstate 65 near Elizabethtown had been shut down, but he told CNN that some traffic was beginning to move.

“It is moving again, thank goodness,” Beshear said.

Traffic on Interstate 24 near Paducah was also starting to move slowly, but as temperatures fell after nightfall icing was again a problem, transportation officials said.

Cancellations were announced for hundreds of school districts, government offices and legislatures in the District of Columbia, New Jersey, South Carolina and Tennessee.

In Washington, federal offices and Congress shut down, and sledders ignored a police ban to stage a “sled-in” on Capitol Hill. “We’re out here sledding for America,” sledder Mai Fernandez told Reuters Television,

Slick travel conditions were reported throughout the Ohio River Valley and surrounding states, and one person was killed in a vehicle crash in Dickson County, Tennessee.

In Dallas, a man who was outdoors photographing the snowfall was shot to death, but there were no arrests and no known motive, police said.

A total of 4,858 U.S. flights were canceled, according to FlightAware.com. Airports in Dallas, Washington, Philadelphia and the New York metropolitan area were hardest hit.

Parts of Massachusetts got up to 12 inches (19 cm) of snow, but there was no official word on whether Boston had broken its annual snowfall record. Two inches (5 cm) would break the city’s record annual total of nearly 108 inches (274 cm) set in 1995-96.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner and Barbara Goldberg; Additional reporting by Tim Ryan and Ian Simpson in Washington, Tim; Steve Barnes in Little Rock, Arkansas; and Steve Bittenbender in Louisville, Kentucky; Editing by Kevin Liffey, Lisa Von Ahn and Ken Wills)

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North Korea’s Kim Jong Un inspects new submarine, points out weapons systems

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

Kim and officials looking around a submarine. Courtesy: Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected a newly built submarine and pointed out its tactical capabilities and weapons systems, North Korea’s official news agency KCNA said on Tuesday (July 23).

The submarine, which was built under Kim’s “special attention”, will be operational in the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, KCNA said.

KCNA released still photographs of Kim looking around the submarine, but did not describe the kind of weapons systems the submarine contained or when the inspection took place.

Kim tasked defense and scientific officials accompanying him with achieving more strategic initiatives in submarine use, state media added. (REUTERS)

(Production: Minwoo Park)

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World’s longest electric vehicle trip ends in New Zealand

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Sunday, July 21st, 2019

Dutch adventurer Wiebe Wakker posing beside his vehicle the ‘Blue Bandit’, to celebrate the completion of his three-year drive across more than 30 countries in an electric vehicle. | Courtesy: Reuters

A Dutch sustainability advocate completed the longest ever journey in an electric vehicle in New Zealand on Friday (July 19) after a three-year drive that took him through more than 30 countries.

Wiebe Wakker set off from the Netherlands in March 2016 in his “Blue Bandit” to showcase the potential of sustainable transport, funded by donations from those following his trip on social media.

“So I wanted to do my bit to promote this technology and show that sustainability is a viable way of transport. So I wanted really to do something that really speaks to the imagination which is driving an electric car from Amsterdam to literally the other side of the world to show that it can be done,” he said.

The 101,000 kilometers (62,800 miles) trip took Wakker through Eastern Europe, Iran, India, Southeast Asia, before traveling around much of Australia and across to New Zealand.

Wakker gave regular updates on his blog and social media throughout the journey, detailing visiting Iran’s biggest car manufacturer in Tehran, a breakdown on the Indonesian island of Java and visits to Australia’s outback and world-famous Uluru.

The drive had relied on the support of strangers across the globe who offered the traveler food, a place to stay and the essential means to charge his car along the way. (REUTERS)

(Production: James Redmayne)

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South Koreans boycott Japanese brands and cancel trips as diplomatic row intensifies

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Saturday, July 20th, 2019

Angry South Korean consumers are taking action after Tokyo imposed curbs on exports to South Korea, promoting a widespread boycott of Japanese products and services, from beer to clothes and travel.

“We decided to cancel (the trip to Japan) because it went against our beliefs. I’m actually feeling relieved,” said Lee Sang-won, a 29-year-old designer, who canceled his Japan trip for a 130,000 won ($110.15) fee.

Screenshots of Japan trip cancellations are trending on social media. Lee and his friends, who have changed their holiday destination to Taiwan, ‘proudly’ presented their canceled ticket to Japan on his social media account.

“I believe it is very significant for South Korean citizens to show them (the Japanese government) their thoughts and actions. These boycotts are not about how much economic damage we can inflict, but about how we can raise their awareness,” said Lee, scheduling his trip to Taiwan with his friend.

Diplomatic tensions have been simmering again since a South Korean court last year ordered Japanese companies to compensate South Koreans who were forced to work during the war. Then on July 4, Japan restricted exports of high-tech materials to South Korea, denying the move was related to the compensation issue. Tokyo cited “inadequate management” of sensitive exports, with Japanese media reporting some items ended up in North Korea. Seoul has denied that.

Meanwhile, some local supermarkets pulled Japanese beers off the shelves, which was their way of taking a stance against Japan as a quickly worsening political and economic dispute between the two East Asian neighbors rekindles lingering animosity since Japan’s World War Two occupation of Korea.

“Of course we should (boycott Japanese products). There are so many good, tasty products, domestic and overseas alike, so why bother (consuming Japanese products) when we have this problem with Japan?” said a 55-year-old South Korean customer at a local market where he can’t find Japanese beers, said he has plenty of other options which can replace Japanese products.

Economists say the tech export curbs could shave 0.4% off South Korea’s gross domestic product this year. The boycott – if it proves to be more than just a brief burst of nationalistic fervor – could marginally add to that, unless consumers spend on something else.

“We are pleased to see this has turned consumers’ favor towards our pens,” said Park Seol, assistant manager at stationery maker Monami, whose online sales have risen five-fold since the curbs.

Japan’s Fast Retailing fashion brand Uniqlo, which sells clothes worth around 140 billion yen – 6.6% of its revenue – in 186 Korean stores, is also feeling the anger as its chief financial officer said last week there was a certain impact on sales. (REUTERS)

(Production: Daewoung Kim & Heejung Jung)

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