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Heavy rains as Cyclone Gulab makes landfall in India | Weather News

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Thousands evacuated to storm shelters in the coastal areas of southern Odisha and northern Andhra Pradesh.

A cyclone packing strong winds and rains has barrelled into India’s east coast, as tens of thousands of people in three states were evacuated to shelters.

Heavy rains and strong winds were reported along the coast on Sunday evening as the tropical storm over the Bay of Bengal began making landfall, barely four months after another cyclone hit the region, leaving destruction in its wake.

Cloud bands had touched the coastal regions of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh indicating Cyclone Gulab had begun to make landfall, the India Meteorological Department tweeted.

The storm with wind speeds up to 95km/h (59mph) was expected to cross the coasts of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh states by midnight (19:30 GMT).

The weather office said very heavy rainfall was expected.

Thousands of people have been moved to storm shelters in the coastal areas of southern Odisha and northern Andhra Pradesh, officials said. Others were advised to avoid rivers and canals and stay at home.

“People have been asked to stay alert, as the high-speed winds can uproot electricity poles, trees, hoardings and the rains can cause sudden overflows in canals and streams,” Andhra Pradesh official G Srijana said.

Odisha Special Relief Commissioner PK Jena said seven districts in the state were on high alert and evacuation efforts were under way.

In Andhra Pradesh, some 85,000 families were expected to be moved from low-lying areas to temporary relief shelters.

Rescue teams of disaster relief operations personnel had been deployed across the entire region, National Disaster Response Force chief Satya Pradhan said.

In May, more than a million people were evacuated from their homes along India’s east coast before it was battered by Cyclone Yaas with winds gusting up to 155km/h (96mph) – equivalent to a category two hurricane.

At least 20 people were killed and tens of thousands were displaced in the storm, which caused widespread damage worth more than $2bn in Odisha and West Bengal states and in neighbouring Bangladesh.

Cyclones often form over the Bay of Bengal between April and November, bringing widespread destruction and flooding to Indian coastal areas.

In Andhra Pradesh, some 85,000 families were expected to be moved from low-lying areas to temporary relief shelters [National Disaster Response/AP]




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Jonathan Mirsky, Journalist and Historian of China, Dies at 88

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Dr. Mirsky managed to dictate his article by phone. The next morning he cycled back to Tiananmen, where he saw soldiers shoot parents who were trying to enter the square to look for children who had not returned home. He said he also saw soldiers shoot doctors and nurses who had come to the scene to help the injured. (Many China scholars still regard as unresolved how many people were killed in the crackdown and where they died; estimates range from the hundreds to the thousands.)

“Tiananmen Square became a place of horror,” Dr. Mirsky wrote in his front-page article on the day of the crackdown, “where tanks and troops fought with students and workers, where armored personnel carriers burned and blood lay in pools on the stones.”

Dr. Mirsky was named international reporter of the year at the 1989 British Press Awards for his Tiananmen coverage.

Jonathan Mirsky was born on Nov. 14, 1932, in Manhattan to Alfred E. Mirsky, a prominent biochemist, and Reba Paeff Mirsky, a musician and author of children’s books. He studied at the Fieldston School in New York and received a bachelor’s degree in history from Columbia University. He studied Mandarin at the University of Cambridge and in 1958 moved with his wife, Betsy, to Taiwan, where he studied Chinese and Tang Dynasty history for four years.

Dr. Mirsky’s first marriage ended in divorce, and in 1963 he married Rhona Pearson, a British neurobiologist. After he received a Ph.D. in Chinese history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1966, he began teaching at Dartmouth College, where he was the co-director of the East Asia Language and Area Studies Center.

As a professor, Dr. Mirsky was an active participant in the anti-Vietnam War protest movement. He traveled to Southeast Asia multiple times and conducted lengthy interviews with North Vietnamese government officials. He participated in meetings and sit-ins, and he was arrested in 1972, along with other Dartmouth faculty members and students, for blocking a bus carrying draftees.

Dr. Mirsky failed to receive tenure at Dartmouth. So in 1975 he and his wife moved to London, where he eventually became a journalist. In addition to working as a China correspondent for The Observer, he wrote over the decades for a range of publications, including The Independent and Literary Review.


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Afghan citizens to have new passports, national identity cards, announce Taliban | World News

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Kabul: The new Taliban government has announced that Afghan passports, national identity cards (NIDs) will have the name “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” in them.

Deputy Minister of Information and Culture and the spokesperson of the Taliban Zabiullah Mujahid said that it is possible for the Afghan passports and NIDs to have the name “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” in them, reported The Khaama Press News Agency.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has said that the national identity cards and the passports that are issued by the previous Afghan government are valid for the time being.

Deputy Minister of information and culture and the spokesperson of the Taliban Zabiullah Mujahid said that the documents issued by the previous government, are still valid as legal documents of the country, reported The Khaama Press News Agency.

The passport and NID departments are still closed in Afghanistan and only those who have conducted their biometrics can get their passports and NIDs. 

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Taliban Ask Airlines to Resume International Flights to Afghanistan, Promise ‘Full Cooperation’

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The Taliban government in Afghanistan appealed on Sunday for international flights to be resumed, promising full cooperation with airlines and saying that problems at Kabul airport had been resolved.

The statement from the foreign affairs ministry comes as the new administration has stepped up efforts to open up the country and gain international acceptance following the collapse of the Western-backed government last month.

A limited number of aid and passenger flights have been operating from the airport. But normal commercial services have yet to resume since it was closed in the wake of the chaotic evacuation of tens of thousands of foreigners and vulnerable Afghans that followed the Taliban’s seizure of the capital.

ALSO READ | Taliban Hang Four Bodies on Crane in Herat Province as ‘Punishment’ for Kidnapping

The airport, which was damaged during the evacuation, has since been reopened with the assistance of technical teams from Qatar and Turkey.

While some airlines including Pakistan International Airlines have been offering limited services and some people have been able to get places on flights, prices have been reported to be many times higher than normal.

Foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi said the suspension of international flights had left many Afghans stranded abroad and also prevented people from travelling for work or study.

“As the problems at Kabul International Airport have been resolved and the airport is fully operational for domestic and international flights, the IEA assures all airlines of its full cooperation,” he said, using an abbreviation for Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban’s term for their new government.

Since taking power, the Taliban have grappled with a severe economic crisis and have faced pressure on issues ranging from girls’ education to allegations of reprisals against former officials and others associated with the previous government.

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