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Hong Kong closes schools, raises warning for Typhoon Koinu

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Hong Kong raised its third-highest storm warning signal on Sunday due to the approach of Typhoon Koinu, leading to the closure of transportation services and schools. The typhoon arrived shortly after Typhoon Saola, which prompted the highest storm alert, known as “T10,” in Hong Kong. The city also faced severe rainfall, the most in nearly 140 years, causing subway stations to flood and triggering landslides.

The Hong Kong weather observatory warned of strong winds and intense rain bands as Typhoon Koinu moved closer to the Pearl River Estuary, entering within 100 kilometers south of the city. The public was cautioned to stay away from low-lying areas to prepare for potential storm surges. The observatory stated that it might consider issuing higher storm warning signals based on wind speeds.

The “T8” signal, the third-highest in Hong Kong’s storm warning system, was activated due to Koinu’s sustained wind speed reaching 117 kilometers per hour. The storm’s maximum sustained wind speed was recorded at 145 kilometers per hour.

As a result of the storm warning, schools, daycare centers, cargo terminals, ferries, and buses suspended their operations for the day or in the afternoon. Over 30 flights had been canceled by 11:00 am.

Before reaching Hong Kong, Typhoon Koinu had passed near Taiwan, causing heavy rainfall and record-breaking winds on Orchid Island. It resulted in at least one fatality and left hundreds of thousands of homes without power.

Southern China frequently experiences typhoons during the summer and autumn months, originating from the warm oceans to the east of the Philippines and moving westward.

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In 25 Minutes, 13 Earthquakes Hit California

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Overnight, California experienced a sequence of 13 earthquakes within just 25 minutes, as confirmed by the National Weather Service (NWS).

According to US authorities, the initial earthquake occurred shortly after midnight on Monday, striking northwest of El Centro, a city situated in the southern border region. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported the quake as registering a magnitude of 4.8 and causing significant shaking across San Diego County.

A 4.5 magnitude aftershock followed merely six minutes later, originating west of the Salton Sea, as stated by the USGS. This was succeeded by a series of smaller aftershocks.

Meteorologists attribute these seismic events to the San Jacinto fault system, recognized as one of the most active faults in southern California.

The initial quake struck at 12:36 am on Monday, with its epicenter located 11.7 miles deep, as revealed by the USGS. The occurrence of this quake, along with twelve subsequent ones, triggered a shake alert issued by the USGS.

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NATO chief tells Turkey ‘time has come’ to let Sweden join

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urged Turkey on Monday to expedite the approval of Sweden’s pending membership, stating that it should be done “as soon as possible.” Stoltenberg emphasized that Sweden has fulfilled its commitments, and now it is crucial for Turkey to conclude the accession process.

As of now, Turkey and Hungary are the only NATO member states that have not ratified Sweden’s bid for membership, despite Sweden applying for it over 18 months ago. The Turkish parliament initiated discussions on Sweden’s membership earlier this month, following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s initiation of the process after a NATO summit agreement in July.

While the other 29 NATO allies had hoped to officially welcome Sweden into the alliance during a foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels this week, the process is currently in the committee stage in the Turkish parliament.

Expressing his desire for a swifter ratification process, Stoltenberg remarked, “I would have liked to see more speed in the ratification process, that’s no secret. I would like them to finalize that, and that’s exactly what I have communicated many times.”

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BREAKING: Israel agrees to 4-hour military ‘ceasefire’ in Gaza – White House

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Just a month after the start of a fierce conflict between the Israeli military and Hamas militants, Israel has agreed to institute daily four-hour ceasefires in the northern Gaza Strip, as confirmed by the White House. White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby mentioned that the announcement of these pauses will be made three hours in advance. He stated, “According to information from the Israelis, there will be no military operations in these areas during the ceasefire, and this process begins today.”

It’s worth noting that an armed conflict between Israel and Hamas-led Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip escalated on October 7, 2023, following a multi-pronged invasion by the latter into Southern Israel. Since October 7, there have been reports of at least 10,812 Palestinian casualties in the Gaza Strip.

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