Tropical Storm Reaches China, Hurricane Florence Rescue Efforts, Strawberry Tampering in Australia, and More

Tropical Storm Reaches China, Hurricane Florence Rescue Efforts, Strawberry Tampering in Australia, and More
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  • Tropical storm Mangkhut hit the southern coast of China, killing two, after leaving at least 64 dead in the Philippines amid landslides and flooding reports The Guardian. The storm, which has been downgraded from typhoon status, battered the heavily populated Guangdong region on Sunday afternoon with 100 mile per hour winds. In Guangdong, more than 2.4 million people were evacuated. China Central Television said Mangkhut triggered storm surges as high as 3 meters. As the storm passed Hong Kong, high winds smashed windows in the city, tearing off parts of buildings and roofs, while storm surges flooded hotels and restaurants with waist-deep water. More than 100 people were injured. Macau also closed all 42 of its casinos for the first time.

  • The death and destruction brought by Tropical Storm Florence has been punctuated with stories of bravery, generosity, and resilience, reports CNN. The massive storm's relentless rains continue to pound parts of the Carolinas, leaving several people dead, wiping out electricity to some 950,000 customers, and trapping residents in flooded homes. Responders, both professional and volunteer, have rescued hundreds of people and animals. For example, a retired Marine with a military transport vehicle pulled 10 people out of flooded neighborhoods in New Bern, North Carolina, and delivered them to a shelter. The Cajun Navy, a volunteer rescue organization formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, received more than 500 calls for assistance in that city. Meanwhile, Coast Guard helicopter crews have rescued 57 people and 8 pets in North Carolina since Hurricane Florence began, reports First State. Coast Guard shallow water response teams are clearing roads in the counties of Samson, Cumberland, Columbus and Lenoir to enable emergency crews and shallow water vessels to reach those in distress. Currently there are more than 3,000 Coast Guard members responding to Hurricane Florence.
     
  • Australia has ordered an investigation into the discovery of sewing needles hidden in strawberries, and contaminated packages of fruit have been reported in six states and territories, reports the BBC. One man was taken to the hospital after eating a strawberry that held a needle. Several brands have been recalled. Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt ordered the Food Safety Authority of Australia and New Zealand to investigate the crime. Cases of fruit tampering were first reported in Queensland last week, before spreading to New South Wales, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, and Tasmania, and at least six brands have been affected. Growers and police have suggested that some cases may be copycat incidents. The government of Queensland is now offering a reward for information.

  • The sudden closure of the Sunspot Solar Observatory in New Mexico due to a security issue has raised questions about why it was closed, according to CNN. The facility focuses on solar research. On September 6, the observatory was evacuated, and it remains closed and under FBI investigation. One rumor circulating online is that aliens or UFOs could be the reason for the concern, but the FBI denies that. Residents around the area were forced to evacuate without any explanation. Fox News reports that the observatory will open today. The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy said in a statement Sunday that it has hired a temporary security team to patrol the observatory when it reopens. "Given the significant amount of publicity the temporary closure has generated, and the consequent expectation of an unusual number of visitors to the site, we are temporarily engaging a security service while the facility returns to a normal working environment," the association said. Authorities have not revealed the nature of the security threat the observatory faced, but kept it secret in case the news would alert the suspect and impede the law enforcement investigation.
     
  • In other news, a series of natural gas explosions near Boston, Massachusetts, killed a teenager, injured at least 25 others, and left dozens of homes in ruins. The cause is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, but the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said the fires may have resulted from gas lines that had become over-pressurized. Law enforcement will be using drones to protect the 70th Primetime Emmys tonight in Los Angeles. A U.S. Border Patrol supervisor, who is accused of killing at least four women and injuring a fifth, was jailed Sunday on $2.5 million bond in Texas; investigators consider this a serial killer case where the perpetrator believed the victims were prostitutes. The Taliban launched multiple attacks on Afghan checkpoints as well as police and military bases in different parts of the country, killing at least 27 members of the security forces. The Guardian has discovered that at least five local authorities  in the United Kingdom have developed or implemented a predictive analytics system for preventing child abuse, using data from hundreds of thousands of people. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexico's president-elect, began a nationwide tour Sunday with his new​​ head of security, Daniel Asaf, who will coordinate a civilian brigade.