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Typhoon Nanmadol: Japan urges nearly 2 million to seek shelter | Climate News

Japan Meteorological Agency warns of ‘a very dangerous typhoon’ that was classed at the agency’s top category of ‘violent’.

Nearly two million people in Japan have been asked to seek shelter before Typhoon Nanmadol, national broadcaster NHK said, as the weather agency issued a rare “special warning” about the powerful storm, which is expected to make landfall on Sunday.

NHK, which compiles alerts issued by local authorities, said on Saturday that level four evacuation instructions – the second highest – were in place for people in Kagoshima, Kumamoto and Miyazaki in the southern Kyushu region.

The move came as the Japan Meteorological Agency issued its highest alert for the Kagoshima region, a warning that comes when it forecasts conditions seen only once in several decades.

It is the first typhoon-linked special warning issued outside of the Okinawa region since the current system began in 2013.

On Saturday evening, Typhoon Nanmadol was classed at the agency’s top category of “violent”, and was packing gusts of up to 270km/hour (168mph) as it hovered about 200km (124 miles) north-northeast of Minami Daito island, part of a string of remote isles that form the Okinawa region.

The typhoon is expected to approach or make landfall on Sunday in Kagoshima prefecture, then move north the following day before heading towards Japan’s main island.

A director of the Japan Meteorological Agency’s forecast division holds a news conference on Typhoon Nanmadol in Tokyo on September 17 [Jiji Press via AFP]

“There are risks of unprecedented storms, high waves, storm surges, and record rainfall,” Ryuta Kurora, the head of the Japan Meteorological Agency’s forecast unit, told reporters.

“Maximum caution is required,” he said, urging residents to evacuate early.

“It’s a very dangerous typhoon.”

“The wind will be so fierce that some houses might collapse,” Kurora told reporters, also warning of flooding and landslides.

Typhoon season

The evacuation warnings call on people to move to shelters or alternative accommodations that can withstand extreme weather.

But they are not mandatory, and during past extreme weather events, authorities have struggled to convince residents to take shelter quickly enough.

Kurora said even inside strong buildings, residents should take precautions.

“Please move into sturdy buildings before violent winds start to blow and stay away from windows even inside sturdy buildings,” he told a late-night news conference.

Japan is currently in typhoon season and faces about 20 such storms a year, routinely seeing heavy rains that cause landslides or flash floods.

In 2019, Typhoon Hagibis smashed into Japan as it hosted the Rugby World Cup, killing more than 100 people.

A year earlier, Typhoon Jebi shut down Kansai Airport in Osaka, while 14 people were killed.

And in 2018, floods and landslides killed more than 200 people in western Japan during the country’s annual rainy season.

Before Typhoon Nanmadol’s arrival, flight cancellations began to affect regional airports, including those in Kagoshima, Miyazaki and Kumamoto, according to the websites of Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways.

Scientists say climate change is increasing the severity of storms and causing extreme weather such as heatwaves, droughts and flash floods to become more frequent and intense.

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Burkina Faso’s military leader Damiba deposed, army captain says | Politics News

BREAKING,

Burkina Faso’s military government dissolved and constitution suspended, army Captain Ibrahim Traore says.

Burkina Faso army Captain Ibrahim Traore has deposed military leader Paul-Henri Damiba and dissolved the government and suspended the constitution and transitional charter, he said in a statement read on national television.

Traore said on Friday evening that a group of officers had decided to remove Damiba due to his inability to deal with a worsening armed uprising in the country. He announced that borders were closed indefinitely and that all political and civil society activities were suspended.

It is the second takeover in eight months for the West African state. Damiba took power in a coup in January that overthrew former President Roch Kabore, also due in part to frustration over the worsening insecurity.

The Burkina Faso government had said earlier on Friday that an “internal crisis” within the army was behind troop deployments in key areas of the capital, adding that negotiations were underway after shots rang out before dawn.

Government spokesman Lionel Bilgo said talks were ongoing “to try to reach a settlement without trouble”.

The state television was cut for several hours, broadcasting just a blank screen with the message “no video signal”.

In Brussels, the EU voiced “concern” at the events unfolding in the Burkina capital.

“A military movement was observed from 04:30 this morning. The situation still remains particularly confused,” spokeswoman Nabila Massrali said.

Damiba had pledged to restore civilian rule within two years and to defeat armed factions stoking unrest in the country.

Attacks have increased since mid-March, despite the junta’s vow to make security its top priority.

More to follow.

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US unveils plan for long-term baby formula imports | Business and Economy News

In February, Food and Drug Administration inspectors temporarily shutdown the nation’s largest domestic formula factory due to bacterial contamination.

United States regulators have unveiled a plan to allow foreign baby formula manufacturers to stay on the market long term, an effort to diversify the nation’s tightly concentrated industry and prevent future shortages.

On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration said recent entrants to the US market will have until October 2025 to make sure their formulas comply with federal standards for nutrition, labelling and manufacturing. The agency noted that some companies should be able to meet those requirements sooner.

The US has been forced to turn to foreign manufacturers to boost formula supplies since February, when FDA inspectors temporarily shuttered the nation’s largest domestic formula factory due to bacterial contamination.

In May, the FDA eased federal import regulations and President Joe Biden authorised the airlift of millions of pounds of powdered formula from overseas. Together those actions have brought the equivalent of 300 million bottles of formula into the country, according to the FDA.

“Manufacturers from around the world have demonstrated their commitment to helping bolster US supply and, in turn, we are committed to continuing these flexibilities for their products to safely remain on the market,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said in a statement.

The policy allowing imports was set to expire in November, but the FDA said it would be extended to January, after which companies can ask to stay on the market longer.

For decades, the US formula industry has been dominated by a handful of companies with domestic production facilities, excluding similar products from Europe, Australia and Latin America. The US system evolved to prioritise safety and low pricing, favouring a few large players.

Foreign formula companies seeking to remain in the US must meet specific thresholds for 30 nutrients and undergo manufacturing inspections by FDA staff, among other steps.

Earlier this month the FDA formally acknowledged several shortcomings in its response to the shortage, including outdated information technology systems and inadequate training among its food facility inspectors.

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Europe steps up energy security amid sabotage allegations | Russia-Ukraine war News

Norway has announced it will receive help from the United Kingdom, Germany and France to patrol the seas around its oil and gas platforms, following major leaks blamed on sabotage on the subsea gas pipelines from Russia to Europe.

Russia’s Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines burst this week, draining huge volumes of gas into the Baltic Sea off the coast of Denmark and Sweden.

The European Union said it suspected an act of deliberate sabotage had caused the damage, while Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday accused the United States and its allies of blowing up the pipelines.

The attacks have prompted Norway, Western Europe’s biggest oil and gas producer, to deploy its navy, coast guard and air force to beef up oil and gas security.

“We’re in a dialogue with our allies regarding increased presence in the Norwegian [offshore] sector and have said yes to contributions from Germany, France and Britain,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference on Friday.

He stressed that Norway had no indications of direct threats, but that it was nevertheless prudent to beef up security.

“In this situation, it is safe to have allies,” Stoere said, without elaborating on the level of assistance the NATO member nation would receive.

A visit to the North Sea Sleipner field, a major source of gas which is piped to Europe, was scheduled for Saturday. “I will get a briefing and meet employees on the platform. They are many and they are important,” he said.

Norway has become an increasingly vital partner in Europe, stepping up gas production to provide approximately 30 percent of gas demand and becoming the most important single source of gas supply.

However, its supplies of oil, gas and hydropower are largely produced offshore and depend on a network of undersea pipelines and cables.

To ward off potential attacks in advance of the coming winter months, European countries on Friday moved to secure their energy networks, with Italy stepping up naval surveillance on pipeline routes and German grid operators increasing the security of transmission lines.

Trading blame

Putin has denied sabotaging the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, blaming instead the “Anglo-Saxons” in the West for what he described as an attempt to “destroy the European energy infrastructure”.

Speaking in Moscow at a ceremony to annex four regions of Ukraine into Russia, he said that “those who profit from it have done it,” without naming a specific country.

The US has long been opposed to the two pipelines and had repeatedly urged Germany to halt them, saying they increase Europe’s energy dependence on Russia and decrease its security.

US President Joe Biden said the explosions were an act of sabotage and that divers would be sent to check “exactly what happened”.

“It was a deliberate act of sabotage and the Russians are pumping out disinformation and lies. We’ll work with our allies to get to the bottom [of] exactly, precisely what happened,” Biden told reporters.

The bursting of the pipes produced two methane leaks off Sweden, including a large one above North Stream 1 and a smaller one above North Stream 2, and two leaks off Denmark.

In a letter to the UN, the two Scandinavian countries said the blasts that rocked the Baltic Sea before the huge methane leaks “probably corresponded to an explosive load of several hundred kilos”.

The Integrated Carbon Observation System, a European research alliance, said “an enormous amount of methane gas has been released into the atmosphere,” adding it corresponds to the size of a whole year’s methane emissions for a city the size of Paris or a country like Denmark.

NATO warned on Thursday it would retaliate for any attacks on the critical infrastructure of its 30 member countries and joined other Western officials in citing sabotage as the likely cause of damage.

Denmark is a NATO member and Sweden is in the process of joining the military alliance. Both say the pipelines were deliberately attacked.

Moscow asked for a thorough international probe to assess the damage and requested an emergency meeting at the UN Security Council scheduled for Friday.

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