Sunday, October 12, 2014

Cyclone Hudhud blasts India's east coast, at least five dead

Cyclone Hudhud blasted India's eastern seaboard on Sunday with gusts of up to 195 kilometres an hour (over 120 mph), uprooting trees, damaging buildings and killing at least three people despite a major evacuation effort.

The port city of Visakhapatnam, home to two million people and a major naval base, was hammered as the cyclone made landfall, unleashing the huge destructive force it had sucked up from the warm waters of the Bay of Bengal.

Upended trees and wreckage were strewn across Visakhapatnam, known to locals as Vizag. Most people heeded warnings to take refuge, but three who ventured out were killed, officials said.

The chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, the state that bore the brunt of Hudhud's onslaught, said the extent of damage would only become known after the storm abates.

"We are unable to ascertain the situation. Seventy percent of communication has totally collapsed ... this is the biggest calamity," N. Chandrababa Naidu told Headlines Today television.

"We are asking people not to come out of their houses," Naidu said, adding that damage assessment would start on Monday. "We are mobilising men and material immediately."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Naidu and promised "all possible assistance in relief and rescue operations", his central government said in a statement.

The low toll reported so far followed an operation to evacuate more than 150,000 people to minimise the risk to life from Hudhud - similar in size and power to cyclone Phailin that struck the area exactly a year ago.

After a lull as the eye of the storm passed over the city, winds regained massive potency. Forecasters warned Hudhud would blow strongly for several hours more, before wind speeds halve in the evening.

"Reverse windflow will be experienced by the city, which will again have a very great damage potential," L.S. Rathore, director-general of the state India Meteorological Department (IMD), told reporters in New Delhi.

The IMD forecast a storm surge of 1-2 metres above high tide that could result in flooding of low-lying coastal areas around Visakhapatnam, Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam.

TERRIFYING WIND

A Reuters reporter in Vizag said the storm had smashed his hotel's windows and flooded the ground floor. It was difficult even to open the door of his room, he said, as wind rushing through the corridors drove it shut again.

"I never imagined that a cyclone could be so dangerous and devastating," said one businessman who was staying in the hotel. "The noise it is making would terrify anyone."

An operations centre in state capital Hyderabad was inundated with calls from people seeking help, including 350 students stranded in a building with no food or water, said K. Hymavathi, a senior disaster management official.

Vizag port suspended operations on Saturday night, with its head saying that 17 ships which had been in the harbour were moving offshore where they would be less at risk from high seas.

The city airport was closed and train services suspended.

The IMD rated Hudhud as a very severe cyclonic storm that could pack gusts of 195 km/h and dump more than 24.5 cm (10 inches) of rain.

The cyclone was strong enough to have a "high humanitarian impact" on nearly 11 million people, the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS), run by the United Nations and the European Commission, said.

The evacuation effort was comparable to one preceding Cyclone Phailin, credited with minimising fatalities to 53. When a huge storm hit the same area 15 years ago, 10,000 people died.

Hudhud was likely to batter a 200-300 km stretch of coastline before losing force as it moves inland, forecasters said.

According to the IMD, peak wind speeds will drop to 60 km/h by Monday afternoon. Hudhud is expected to continue to dump heavy rains in northern and northeastern India and, eventually, snow when it reaches the Himalayan mountains.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

5 things to watch for in Obama vs. Romney sequel

Ready for Round Two? President Obama and Mitt Romney square off Tuesday night in their second debate, this time answering questions posed by undecided voters.

The town hall-style debate will be held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. Moderator Candy Crowley of CNN will select the questions from the 80-member audience, who were picked in advance by Gallup.

USA TODAY will have full coverage on all of its platforms. Check your local listings on where to catch the action, starting at 9 p.m. ET. Our guide to the five things to watch:

A second chance for Obama: The president said he was too polite in his first face-to-face meeting with Romney, who got a boost in public opinion polls because of his strong debate performance two weeks ago. Obama's advisers promise he will be "aggressive" and "energetic." But if Obama swings too hard in challenging Romney's assertions, will he come off like a bully?

The wind at Romney's back: The Republican's team says the momentum belongs to Romney after the Oct. 3 debate in Denver. Romney has been practicing the same way he did for the Denver debate, by focusing on what he wants to do if elected and why the time is right for America to change course. Can he build on the gains he has already made?

The challenge of speaking directly to voters: The people posing the questions want to be persuaded, which means Obama and Romney have to be engaging, empathetic, believable, likable and presidential -- sometimes all at the same time. It's a danger to appear disengaged, as George H.W. Bush did when he looked at his watch in the 1992 town hall debate. Or to get in your opponent's face, as Al Gore did in 2000 when he walked right up to George W. Bush.

Apple iPhone 4, 4S prices slashed in India again

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In an unprecedented move, Apple India has slashed the prices of iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S within a week of lowering their retail prices, say media reports. Industry sources have stated that an Apple spokesperson confirmed the second price cut of the last two iPhones. Moreover, the spokesperson also said iPhone 3GS has been discontinued in India, just like in the global market.

After the recent price cut, the 8GB model of Apple iPhone 4 will cost Rs 26,500, whereas the 16GB variant of Apple iPhone 4S will be retailed at Rs 38,500. During the price revision of last week, the prices of iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S were Rs 28,300 and Rs 41,500.

The Apple spokesperson also said the company will retail its smartphones through Ingram Micro and Redington in India now onwards, as reported previously. The former will be responsible for distributing the iPhones for large format retails, while the latter will sell the same via regional channels. This is a shift in gears from its earlier strategy of distributing iPhones via Aircel and Airtel, who bundled it with their own data and call packages.

This means that many cellular operators in India will keep nano sim cards in stock, which are only used in iPhone 5.

Apple is expected to launch iPhone 5, the fastest selling smartphone ever, in India on October 26. It was earlier reported that the 16GB variant of iPhone 5 will cost around Rs 46,000 to 48,000 in India, while the 32GB model is expected to be rolled out at Rs 51,000 and Rs 53,000. The price of the top end 64GB variant of the latest iPhone is expected to range from Rs 58,000 and Rs 61,000.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Earthquake rattles northern Japan

A MAGNITUDE 7.3 earthquake has struck wide areas of northern and north-eastern Japan, the Meteorological Agency says.

No immediate casualties or damage were reported and no tsunami warning was issued. The quake occurred at 12:01pm (1.01pm AEST) today with its epicentre in the Sea of Okhotsk, off Japan's northern island of Hokkaido at a depth of 590km, the agency said. On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 quake and tsunami hit north-eastern Japan, leaving nearly 19,000 people dead or missing.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Easiest Way To Get Married To A Foreigner

It is usually good news for people to announce their engagement and declaration of intention to get married. Every couple has their own unique story on how they met and decided to settle down in marriage. The internet has become a common place for people to meet and fall in love. For most American citizens they have a desire to bring their spouse to the county and get married there. However, this is not an easy process because there are few requirements that are to be met before this can finally happen. The first and most important thing to do is apply for the k-1 visa which will grant your spouse entry into the country. Before one can secure this visa, there is so much that needs to be submitted to the immigration department. The whole process is quite frustrating and one can end up being disappointed. This visa will be the key to allow the foreigner to come into the county for marriage with their life partner. Since most people meet on the internet and fall in love, there is more that is required when it comes to application of this visa. You need to have at least met once in the period of two years preceding the visa petition. This needs to be confirmed with evidence such as travel documents and photos. Once the process commences, there are several documents that are required to be submitted. If the documents are confirmed to be as required and authentic, your partner is invited for an interview. This interview will determine if you will get the fiancee visa or not. You should ensure that you try as much as possible to fulfill all the necessary requirements so as to be guaranteed of a successful application. This visa does not offer permanent residence and after marriage, you will be required to apply for permanent residency.

Improved Nissan models

One of the most competitive industries in the world is the car manufacturing business. Every manufacturer tries to outdo the other with invention and production of cars that have great features. If you are a Nissan lover, then the Nissan Altima will definitely appeal to you because of its excellent condition and quality. Most people that have had the privilege of driving the Altima can agree that this is one of a kind due to the unique features and amazing capabilities. The Altima is almost similar to the mini-sedans that are in the market. The car has been made using the best quality materials which ensure that it has a great appearance on the outside as well as the inside. Most of the seats are made from suede material and have armrest which makes it very comfortable for the passengers. The steering wheel comes with leather covering which enhances the grip while one is driving. You can visit any of the Nissan dealers and find an excellent car that is in good condition. There so many dealers that offer second hand cars and if you are lucky enough you might as well get the Altima and pay a good price for this exceptional car. We can all agree that buying of used cars or second hand cars as we popularly know them have become the way to go for most people due the circumstances surrounding their income and hence their budget. It is actually a wise thing to buy a used car especially of you can afford to accessorize the cars and give them a new look altogether. You need to use the services of an experienced car expert who will advise you on what to look for and if the price is worth it. This is a great invention and you should try it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tips for great-looking hair in the summer


Summer’s here and don’t you  just hate your hair during this season? Dry, brittle, frizzy with an oily scalp which even your best hair products are struggling with. Well, the sun is to blame for a major part of your woes. Here are a few tips to keep your hair in beautiful this season:
  • Get adequate protection from the sun. Carry an umbrella or wear a scarf when you’re outside. Apply a sunscreen for your hair, if you are able to get it.
  • Avoid using the blow-dryer and other styling products that use heat as far as possible. If you really need to, condition your hair and apply serum before you do.
  • Avoid hot showers. Use lukewarm or cold water to wash your hair.
  • Use a moisturizing shampoo instead of your usual one. If you need to wash hair daily, use a mild daily-use shampoo.
  • Keep your hair tied in a bun or ponytail whenever possible. Or if you’re adventurous, go for a short, chic style instead.
  • If you’re going on a vacation in the sun, avoid colouring your hair just before you leave. The UV rays in the summer sun can change your hair colour.
  • During the summer, pamper your hair with deep conditioning treatments at the salon or at home. Massage your scalp with warm olive or coconut oil for around 10 minutes and then use a towel soaked in warm water to cover your hair.Another home conditioning treatment involves a mixture of curd, eggs and olive oil.
  • Drink lots of water, tender coconut water and lemonade to keep yourself and your hair hydrated. Eat lots of fresh seasonal fruits and veggies to give your tresses the nutrition they need.