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Hurricane Isaac 2018 update: Still a Category 1 on path for Caribbean

A toss up – as to which way a curve away from the Islands or a weakening by time it gets to the Islands. Either way the authorities are cautioning “Be Prepared’.
 
Hurricane Isaac remained a minimal Category 1 hurricane on Monday afternoon but is forecast to strengthen in the next day or two. It could begin to weaken later this week as it approaches the Caribbean. (National Hurricane Center)
Hurricane Isaac remained a minimal Category 1 hurricane on Monday afternoon but is forecast to strengthen in the next day or two. It could begin to weaken later this week as it approaches the Caribbean. (National Hurricane Center)

Hurricane Isaac remained a minimal hurricane on Monday afternoon and continued to track westward on a path that could bring it across the Lesser Antilles by Thursday.

And if that wasn’t enough the National Hurricane Center is also watching a disturbance already in the Caribbean that could become a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico later this week.

But first Isaac. As of 4 p.m. CDT Monday, Hurricane Isaac was located about 1,090 miles east of the Winward Islands and was moving west at 14 mph.

Isaac maintained winds of 75 mph, making it a minimal Category 1 hurricane.

While Isaac hasn’t gained any strength today that could change over the next day or two. Forecasters said Monday afternoon that they weren’t sure why Isaac hasn’t intensified yet.

The hurricane center said weakening should begin by the middle of the week as Isaac nears the Lesser Antilles.

The hurricane center thinks, however, that Isaac will be near or at hurricane strength when it reaches the islands.

Isaac is forecast to continue moving west and pick up a bit of speed through the end of the week.

On that path it will move across the Lesser Antilles on Thursday. The hurricane center said watches may be needed for the islands on Tuesday.

However, the hurricane center noted that confidence in Isaac’s track forecast is on the low side.

That’s because forecast models are split into two factions on its path.

One set of models suggests Isaac could recurve near or east of the Lesser Antilles and miss the islands all together.

However some of the more reliable models show a consistent westward motion across the islands and into the eastern Caribbean.

The hurricane center is sticking with the westward path for now but added a disclaimer: “Given the spread in the guidance, the confidence in the details of the track forecast beyond the first couple of days is larger than usual.”

Isaac is a small storm, and its strongest winds extend out from the center only about 10 miles.

The hurricane center said the intensity forecast is also difficult.

Storms that small are notoriously challenging to predict because they are more susceptible to environmental changes around them.

Models are also disagree on how how strong — or weak — Isaac will be.

Some models suggest Isaac will steadily weaken as it encounters wind shear in a few days. But yet another one shows Isaac becoming a major hurricane.

Isaac is one of three hurricanes in the Atlantic on Monday.

There’s also Florence, which is a Category 4 as of Monday afternoon and forecast to strike the U.S. as a major hurricane this week, and Category 2 Helene, which is in the far eastern Atlantic and not forecast to affect land.

The hurricane center is also watching a disturbance in the northwest Caribbean that could move into the Gulf of Mexico in a few days.

The hurricane center raised the odds of development to 50 percent on Monday afternoon and said a tropical depression could form Thursday or Friday in the western Gulf.

It was forecast to stay on a west-northwest to northwest path.

The hurricane center warned those along the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana to northeastern Mexico to keep an eye on the system.

In addition to Hurricanes Florence, Helene and Isaac there are two tropical disturbances being monitored by the hurricane center. The one in the northwest Caribbean could become a tropical depression by Thursday or Friday. (NHC)

Posted in Climate/Weather, Environment, Hurricane, Local, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments

Antigua Observer Newspaper

Scare for Antiguans travelling on JetBlue flight

Antigua Observer Newspaper

 

A passenger on board a Jet Blue flight gave a scare to a number of Antiguans and Barbudans and other travelers when he became unruly and violent on the aircraft en route to New York.

One passenger told OBSERVER media the man ripped a few seats on the flight and tried unsuccessfully to pry open the emergency exit in midair.

The traveler said six other passengers rushed from their seats to prevent the man from opening the exit. They wrestled with him and subdued him while the flight diverted to Bermuda where he was removed from the flight.

A JetBlue spokesperson confirmed the 740 flight diverted due to an unruly passenger, according to Bernews in Bermuda.

The news agency quotes the airline as saying, “On Aug. 24, flight 740 from Antigua to New York JFK diverted to Bermuda due to an unruly customer. Local law enforcement met the aircraft to remove the customer, and the flight then continued on to New York.”

The aircraft left the LF Wade International Airport around 8 p.m., not long after the passenger was taken away.

In addition to the police, the Emergency Medical Technicians and Bermuda Fire and Rescue personnel attended the scene.

No one was injured on the flight but an Antiguan passenger said he was scared during the ordeal as he highlighted that not only was his life at risk, but there were dozens of other passengers on board.

He said he had no idea what to think when the incident began to unfold but later passengers said they believed the unruly traveler was struggling with mental issues.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Crime, International, Local, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments

Police officers and rescue workers search for survivors from a building damaged by a landslide caused by a powerful earthquake in Atsuma town in Japan

Powerful quake paralyses Hokkaido in latest disaster to hit Japan

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By Kaori Kaneko and Chang-Ran Kim
Reuters
People look at an area damaged by an earthquake in Sapporo in Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 6, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

By Kaori Kaneko and Chang-Ran Kim

TOKYO (Reuters) – A powerful earthquake paralyzed Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido on Thursday, killing at least seven people, triggering landslides and knocking out power to its 5.3 million residents.

The death toll from the 6.7-magnitude, pre-dawn quake was likely to rise as rescuers searched houses buried by landslides.

About 33 people were missing and 300 were injured, public broadcaster NHK said. Four people were in cardiopulmonary arrest, a term used before death is officially confirmed.

(graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/2oJz6zd)

The quake was the latest in a string of natural disasters to batter Japan after typhoons, flooding and a record-breaking heat wave within the past two months.

Aerial footage showed dozens of landslides exposing barren hillsides near the town of Atsuma in southern Hokkaido, with mounds of red earth and toppled trees piled at the edge of green fields.

The collapsed remains of what appeared to be houses or barns were strewn about.

“It came in four big jerks – boom! boom! boom! boom!” one unidentified woman told NHK. “Before we knew it our house was bent and we couldn’t open the door.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said 25,000 Self-Defense Force troops would be deployed for rescue operations.

The island, a tourist destination about the size of Austria known for its mountains, lakes and seafood, lost its power when Hokkaido Electric Power Co <9509.T> shut down of all its fossil fuel-fired power plants after the quake as a precaution.

It was the first time since the utility was established in 1951 that had happened.

Almost 12 hours later, power was restored to parts of Sapporo, Hokkaido’s capital, and Asahikawa, its second-biggest city.

The government said there was damage to Hokkaido Electric’s Tomato-Atsuma plant, which supplies half the island’s 2.95 million households. It could take a week to restore power fully to all residents, Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said.

All trains across the island were halted.

Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party begins a leadership contest on Friday but said there would be no campaigning through to Sunday. Abe and rival Shigeru Ishiba both canceled campaign media appearances slated for Friday.

‘NOTHING I CAN DO’

Television footage from Sapporo showed crumbled roads and mud covering a main street. Police directed traffic because signal lights were out while drink-vending machines, ubiquitous in Japan, and most ATMs were not working.

“Without electricity, there’s nothing I can do except to write prescriptions,” a doctor in Abira, the town next to Atsuma, told NHK.

Media reported a baby girl at a Sapporo hospital was in critical condition after the power was cut to her respirator. It wasn’t clear if the hospital had a generator.

The quake hit at 3:08 a.m. (1808 GMT Wednesday) at a depth of 40 km (25 miles), with its epicenter about 65 km (40 miles) southeast of Sapporo, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. In Atsuma, it registered a 7 on Japan’s 7-point quake intensity scale, the agency said, revising an earlier measurement.

Hokkaido’s main airport was closed, at least for the day. Debris and water could be seen on the terminal floors.

Kyodo news agency said more than 200 flights and 40,000 passengers would be affected on Thursday alone.

The closure comes just days after Kansai Airport, another major regional hub, in western Japan, was shut by Typhoon Jebi, which killed 11 people and injured hundreds.

The storm, the most powerful to hit Japan in 25 years, stranded thousands of passengers and workers at the airport, whose operator said it would resume some domestic flights on Friday.

In July, torrential rain in west Japan caused flooding that killed more than 200 people and widespread destruction. That was followed by a heat wave that reached a record 41.1 Celsius and led to the deaths of at least 80 people.

FACTORIES HALTED

Farming, tourism and other services are big economic drivers on Hokkaido, which accounts for just 3.6 percent of Japan’s gross domestic product, but there is some industry. Kirin Brewery and Sapporo Breweries both said factories were shut by the power outage.

A series of smaller shocks followed the initial quake, the JMA said. Residents were warned to take precautions.

 

By the afternoon, backhoes and other earth-moving equipment in Atsuma had begun clearing debris.

Japan is situated on the “Ring of Fire” arc of volcanoes and oceanic trenches that partly encircles the Pacific Basin.

Northeast Japan was hit by a 9 magnitude earthquake on March 11, 2011, that triggered a tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people and led to meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Hokkaido’s Tomari nuclear power station, which has been shut since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, suffered a power outage but officials said it was cooling its spent nuclear fuel safely.

Saturday marked the 95th anniversary of the Great Kanto earthquake, which had a magnitude of 7.9 and killed more than 140,000 people in the Tokyo area. Seismologists have said another such quake could strike the capital at any time.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko and Chang-Ran Kim; Additional reporting by William Mallard, Osamu Tsukimori, Aaron Sheldrick, Elaine Lies and Takaya Yamaguchi; Writing by Malcolm Foster; Editing by Paul Tait, Robert Birsel)

Posted in Earthquake, Environment, International, Local, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments

US relaxes Cuba travel advisory

US relaxes Cuba travel advisory

WASHINGTON, Aug.26,  , CMC – The United States Department of State has toned down its travel advisory for Cuba.

The State Department on Friday reduced its advisory to the Spanish-speaking Caribbean island from Level 3, “reconsider travel,” to Level 2, “exercise increased caution.”

According to the State Department ratings, Level 1 means “exercise normal precautions,” and Level 4 means “do not travel.”

Under the revised travel advisory, the State Department urged Americans to “exercise increased caution in Cuba due to attacks targeting US Embassy Havana employees resulting in the drawdown of embassy staff.

“Numerous US Embassy Havana employees appear to have been targeted in specific attacks,” it said, adding: “We are unable to identify the source.  Many of these employees have suffered injuries.”

The State Department said affected individuals have exhibited a range of physical symptoms, including ear complaints and hearing loss, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, cognitive issues, visual problems and difficulty sleeping.

It said attacks have occurred in US diplomatic residences, including a long-term apartment at the Atlantic, and at Hotel Nacional and Hotel Capri in Havana, the Cuban capital.

The State Department said the US Embassy in Havana is operating with reduced staffing. 

It also said family members cannot accompany US government employees who work in Cuba.

“If you decide to travel to Cuba, avoid Hotel Nacional and Hotel Capri,” the advisory said. “If you experience any acute auditory or sensory phenomena, immediately move to another area.

“Know where to seek medical care in Cuba,” it added. “Consult with a medical professional prior to traveling if you have personal health concerns or upon return if you believe you have suffered symptoms similar to those listed above.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, International, Local, News, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

US Embassy to waive visa renewal interviews for Barbadians

US Embassy to waive visa renewal interviews for Barbadians

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Aug 23, CMC – The United States (US) Embassy has announced that from August 28, it will waive visa renewal interviews in Barbados for qualified applicants.

It said the move is part of the US Government’s efforts to improve customer service and streamline the visa process.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the Embassy said Barbados passport holders may qualify for a visa renewal interview waiver if their previous visa expired within the past 12 months and they are applying for the same visa category as their previous visa.

“The applicant must be physically present in Barbados or within the consular district of the US Embassy in Bridgetown to avail themselves of this option. Additionally, the previous US visa must be in the applicant’s possession, and the applicant must have submitted a ten-fingerprint scan in conjunction with the previous visa application,” it said.

Students who wish to renew their visas, and who satisfy the requirements may qualify for interview waiver if they are applying to continue attendance at the same institution, or will continue the same major course of study at a different institution. Applicants seeking to renew work-related visas who are returning to work for the same employer/company as annotated on the previous visa may also qualify. Applicants under the age of 14 and over 79 will continue to qualify for interview waiver in most visa classifications.

However, third country nationals must schedule an interview.

The US Embassy stressed that eligibility for interview waiver does not automatically entitle applicants to a waiver of the interview requirement.

It added that there will be further expansion of interview waivers in US Embassy Bridgetown’s consular district in the coming weeks.

CMC/2018

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, International, Local, News, Regional, Security, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

Man charged with air rage, wins appeal

Man charged with air rage, wins appeal

HAMILTON, Bermuda, Aug 21, CMC  – A 53-year-old Bermudian man who was fined US$700 for shouting obscenities at crew members and a family during a flight from London to Bermuda has had his conviction overturned on appeal.

Attorney Peter Sanderson argued that his client, Helder Viera, could not be convicted in Bermuda as there was no proof the offence happened inside the island’s jurisdiction.

Supreme Court Puisne Judge Shade Subair found that under the legislation, the offence had to happen in Bermuda or on a Bermuda-registered aircraft to secure a conviction.

Justice Subair in a written judgement Tuesday said “regrettably, the learned magistrate (Khamisi Tokunbo) was never addressed on this jurisdiction issue.

“The Crown, having brought the charges before the court, clearly did so under a misguided notion that it was well placed to do so. Further, the appellant was not represented by Mr Sanderson in the Magistrates’ Court when he entered his guilty plea.

“The Crown did not present any evidence before the court to prove that any relevant part of the appellant’s offensive conduct occurred in Bermuda and there was no evidence before the court to suggest that the aircraft concerned was registered in Bermuda. For these reasons, the conviction is unsafe,” Justice Subair said.

Viera was arrested on December 31 last year after an incident on board a British Airways flight from Gatwick.

In January, the Magistrates’ Court heard that Viera began to hurl obscenities at a young family with an infant about two hours into the flight. Viera was warned by cabin crew to calm down.

He later pleaded guilty to using threatening, abusive, insulting words and threatening behaviour under the Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order.

That legislation does extend to Bermuda, but Justice Subair said that offences must happen in Bermuda or over its territorial waters to be prosecuted in the island’s courts.

During Viera’s court case seven months ago Magistrate Tokunbo said the maximum US$1,000 fine for the offence was “peanuts”.

“This penalty encourages people to behave like this,” he added.

Posted in Court, International, Legal, Local, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments

United Airlines announces historic additional flights to St Kitts

United Airlines announces historic additional flights to St Kitts

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Aug 22, CMC – For the first time in St Kitts and Nevis’ history, United Airlines will fly a second weekly nonstop flight from its New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport, complementing the carrier’s existing Saturday service.

Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce Lindsay Grant said the addition of a mid-week flight marks yet another historic first for the twin-island federation this year.

“I could not be more pleased to welcome this additional service, which increases the available options for visitors and Diaspora to get to island during peak travel season from the New York metropolitan area, which is our primary source market for arrivals,” he said.

For the January 9 to March 6, 2019 period, United will operate a total of nine scheduled round-trip, non-stop Wednesday flights between Newark and St. Kitts.

Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, said having the Wednesday flight gives travellers more flexibility in their vacation planning and provides increased capacity during the period when demand is highest.

“This is a testament to the success of our work to grow North American airlift from key gateways in order to accommodate new hotel developments and existing hotel product upgrades,” she said.

United first began serving St. Kitts in December 2015 and continues to operate non-stop Saturday flights from Newark.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

US Customs officers nab passenger with cocaine on flight from Trinidad and Tobago

US Customs officers nab passenger with cocaine on flight from Trinidad and Tobago

NEW YORK, Jul 27,   CMC –  The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency says officers have arrested a woman who was found with cocaine her luggage when she arrived at the John F. Kennedy airport on a flight from Trinidad and Tobago earlier this week.

According to the CBP, on Monday, officers stopped Diamonaire Smith, a United States citizen and during the baggage inspection officers noticed that the sides of the suitcase felt “unusually thick.”

“The CBP officers, thereafter, probed the suitcase, which revealed a white powdery substance. The white powdery substance field-tested positive for cocaine.”

Smith was arrested for the importation of a controlled substance and was turned over to the US Homeland Security Investigations for investigation. 

The total weight of cocaine seized was about five pounds, with an estimated street value of US$85,000.

Smith now faces US federal narcotics smuggling charges and will be prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Office in the US Eastern District Court of New York. 

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Court, Crime, International, Local, News, Police, Travel0 Comments

breaking-news-1

Aircraft crash victim dies

 

The individual rescued from the aircraft that crashed in the sea at the Terrence B Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island has died.

The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force made the pronouncement minutes before 6 o’clock on Wednesday afternoon, July 18.

Police said an investigation has been launched into the fatal accident.

The name of the victim has not been released.

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A small aircraft reportedly has crash-landed in a body of water at the Terrence B Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island.

Local emergency services personnel reportedly are responding at the scene.

Police told BVI News the aircraft ‘overran the runway’ at the airport and ended in the sea.

“One person was rescued from the aircraft,” police said.

Amateur video footage sent to BVI News shows one resident performing what appears to be cardiopulmonary resuscitation – more commonly known as CPR – on a male who is believed to be the crash victim.

The full circumstances of the incident are not clear but BVI News will provide further information as it becomes available.

The BVI Airports Authority has released the following statement on the incident:

A C150 with one person on board departed the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport (TUPJ) at 20:17Z (4:17pm) destined to Pointe a Pitre International Airport (TFFR) in Guadeloupe when it crashed into the waters off the east north east end of Runway 07.

BVI Airport Authority’s Rescue and Fire Fighting Service moved swiftly into action and was able to quickly secure the pilot, the only occupant of the aircraft.

The Airport is currently closed to facilitate the rescue effort.

Posted in International, Local, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments

Antigua shows strongest air arrivals in 15 years

Antigua shows strongest air arrivals in 15 years

ST. JOHN’S, Jul. 18,  CMC – Antigua and Barbuda tourism officials say that for the first time in over 15 years, the country has seen the strongest overall visitor arrivals by air from January to June.

The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) said it recorded 148,139 arrivals for that period with significant increases in the key source markets – the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and the Caribbean.

ABTA said this represents an overall seven per cent increase over 2017.

It said the closest the destination previously came to these figures was in 2008.

The authority said IJune demonstrated significant increases while Canada has the greatest year-over-year increase with over 170 per cent, followed by the US , the  Caribbean   and the United Kingdom .

In addition, ABTA said the destination is seeing an average 11.57 per cent increase in sea arrivals  and an average 8.6 per cent growth in occupancy rates.

This growth is set to continue with significant increased airlift from North America in the Fall 2018, the opening of the destination’s newest 5-star resort and spa, Hodges Bay, in October 2018, as well as a full cruise schedule.

“We are excited by this positive momentum in growth of arrivals, both by cruise and air,” said Minister of Tourism, Economic Development and Investment, Charles “Max” Fernandez.

“It is incredibly encouraging for the tourism industry, and I would like to congratulate the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, the private sector, stakeholders and all our tourism partners in helping us to reach these positive results for the first six months of the year,” he added.

“We will not rest on our laurels, and are striving for better,” Fernandez continued. “We will continue to invest in infrastructure and service and raise awareness of Antigua and Barbuda to ensure we see consistent growth in arrivals.”

ABTA chief executive officer, Colin C. James, said the first half of 2018 has shown “incredible improvement, especially in our key source markets.

“We look forward to relentlessly working towards attracting new and returning visitors, improving our on-island tourism products, as well as increasing access through our award-winning airport and port,” he said.

“We are doubling our airlift out of Miami, introducing new direct service out of New York and Canada, and welcoming new cruise ships to an already busy schedule,” he added.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

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