In today’s bulletin: Typhoon Faxai wreaks havoc in Tokyo; tourism numbers in Hong Kong plunge as unrest continues; India’s moon lander has been located; an interviews with Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar and more.
RECORD STORM HITS TOKYO
Typhoon Faxai left a trail of destruction across the Greater Tokyo area after making landfall overnight on Sunday. It is now considered the most violent storm to have struck the Japanese capital in history. Winds were so strong, a woman in her 50s was reportedly killed when she was smashed against a building by strong gusts. At least 40 others have been reported injured. Nearly 1 million homes were left without power – a blackout on a scale not seen since the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. All in, the typhoon capped what has been a season of extreme weather for Japan which experienced both a historic rainy spell as well as an intense heatwave.
Japan’s extreme weather:
Deadly heatwave blankets Japan, with 11 dead and 5,700 hospitalised in one week
At least 2 killed, 850,000 people evacuated as record rains cause floods in southern Japan
Hundr of flights cancelled, rail services suspended as storm Krosa lashes south-west Japan
We got another indication today of the price Hong Kong is paying for its summer of unrest, with tourist arrivals reportedly down 40 per cent in August compared to a year ago. Bloomberg is reporting that it is the biggest year-on-year decrease since May 2003 when the territory was wrestling with the deadly outbreak of Sars (Severe acute respiratory syndrome). It adds to a series of recent figures that shows just how badly Hong Kong’s economy has been disrupted. Retail sales have dived 11.4 per cent in July and there is talk that Hong Kong could face its first recession in a decade.
The best stories on Hong Kong today:
Hong Kong ‘grandpa protesters’ shield youth on front lines from police
Worried expats consider moving out of city as unrest continues
More than 2,500 hotspots were detected throughout South-east Asia this past week, reported Indonesia’s weather agency – prompting renewed concerns that the periodic haze that has plagued the region for decades are set to return in force. Efforts by Indonesia to control forest fires after a month-long haze in 2015 had given countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand a reprieve. However, Singapore’s National Environment Agency is now warning that the island may experience slightly hazy conditions. Malaysia meanwhile is considering cloud-seeding to clear the air. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has announced a permanent ban on clearing new forest land for farming in response to the fires.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Straits Times, Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar, currently on a visit to Singapore, laid out a forceful defence of India’s actions in Kashmir – an issue that is shaping up to be India’s top foreign policy challenge. He argued that India was driven by a need to bring development to a state which lagged behind the rest of the country while stressing that the government saw it as an internal matter. His come as Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan prepares to lobby international opinion on India’s moves at the UN later this month.
On Kashmir: Modi has ‘reasonable’ chance to nurse Kashmir back to health
On the Indo-Pacific: Delhi not vexed by Asean stance
Or you can read excerpts from the interview here.
MOON LANDER SPOTTED
One more item on India before we wrap up today. After India’s ambitious Moon mission failed during the last lap (ground control lost contact with the module while attempting to land), a space agency official said today that the module has been located on the moon. It is not clear what condition the lander is in and the agency has still not been able to re-establish communications. Two out of three attempts by different countries to land on the moon this year have failed. India has indicated that it has every intention of trying again.
Mugabe: The repatriation of former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s body might take place today, a relative of Mr Mugabe said.
Presidential spokesman George Charamba was quoted in the Sunday Mail as saying Mr Mugabe’s body will arrive in Zimbabwe on Wednesday.
Trump and the Taleban: The Taleban said on Sunday (Sept 8) that US President Donald Trump‘s decision to cancel peace talks with its leadership would lead to the further loss of American lives and assets in Afghanistan at a time when the insurgent group was ready to finalise a deal to end the war.
Tate tragedy:A six-year-old boy who was thrown from a balcony at the Tate Modern museum in London last month (August 2019), suffering fractures and bleeding on the brain, is making “amazing progress,” his family said.
Survival of the tuskless: Hunted for their tusks, the Borneo pygmy elephant may be evolving without tusks in Sabah’s wild. Sabah Wildlife Department assistant director Sen Nathan, who has been observing this growing pattern, said that it was rare in the past to see bull elephants without tusks.
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow.