Sunday, October 13, 2013

Wind, rain, sea pound eastern India as Cyclone Phailin nears

BHUBANESWAR: Strong winds and heavy rains pounded India's eastern coastline on Saturday, as hundreds of thousands of people took shelter from a massive, powerful cyclone expected to reach land in a few hours.

The skies were dark - almost black - at midmorning in Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha and about 60 miles (about 100 kilometres) from the coast. Roaring winds made palm trees sway wildly, and to the south, seawater was pushing inland.

By Friday evening, some six lakh people had been moved to higher ground or shelters in Odisha, which is expected to bear the brunt of the cyclone, said Surya Narayan Patro, the state's top disaster management official.

About 12 hours before Cyclone Phailin's landfall, meteorologists held out hope that the storm might hit while in a temporary weakened state, but no matter what it will be large and deadly.

Ryan Maue, a meteorologist at Weather Bell, a private US weather firm, said even in the best-case scenario there will be a storm surge of 20-30 feet (7-9 meters).

A storm surge - the giant wall of water that that a cyclone blasts ashore - is the big killer in these storms, even more than winds.

The storm already has been large and powerful for nearly 36 hours, he said, and those winds have built up tremendous amount of surge, Maue said.

Satellite images showed the cyclone filling nearly the entire Bay of Bengal, an area larger than France.

A storm this large can't peter out that fast," Maue said. "There's nothing to stop it at this point."

Officials canceled holy day celebrations and stockpiled emergency supplies in coastal Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

The Indian Meteorological Department warned that Phailin was a "very severe cyclonic storm" that was expected to hit with maximum sustained winds of 210-220 kilometres (130-135 miles) per hour.

However, the US Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii forecast maximum sustained winds of 269 kilometers (167 miles) per hour with gusts up to 315 kilometres (196 miles) per hour.

Indian officials also made less dire predictions about the storm surge, saying only it would be at least 10 feet (3 meters) high.

In Bhubaneswar, government workers and volunteers were putting together hundreds of thousands of food packages to be distributed at relief camps.

The state's top official, chief minister Naveen Patnaik, appealed for people to cooperate with officials as they order people to leave their homes.

"I request everyone to not panic. Please assist the government. Everyone from the village to the state headquarters have been put on alert," he told reporters.

In Paradip, the Odisha port city hammered in a 1999 cyclone, at least seven ships had put to sea to ride out the storm, with other boats shifted to safer parts of the harbor, officials said.

US forecasters repeatedly warned the storm would be immense.

"If it's not a record it's really, really close," University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy told The Associated Press. "You really don't get storms stronger than this anywhere in the world ever. This is the top of the barrel."

To compare to killer US storms, McNoldy said Phailin is near the size of 2005's Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1,200 people and caused devastating flooding in New Orleans, but Phailin also has the wind power of 1992's Hurricane Andrew, which had 165 mph (265 kph) winds at landfall in Miami.

The storm continues on its current path without weakening, it is expected to cause large-scale power and communications outages and shut down road and rail links, officials said. There would also be extensive damage to crops.

Patro said tens of thousands of more people will be moved to safer areas before the cyclone hits.

"No one will be allowed to stay in mud and thatched houses in the coastal areas," he said.

The government also began evacuating 64,000 people from the low-lying areas of three vulnerable districts in neighboring Andhra Pradesh, said state revenue minister N Raghuveera Reddy.

The sea had already pushed inland as much as 130 feet (40 metres) in parts of Andhra Pradesh.

Officials have been stockpiling emergency food supplies, and setting up shelters for people expected to flee the heavy winds and rains. The Indian air force said four transport planes and 18 helicopters were being kept ready for relief operations in the region.

What makes this storm so fearsome is that there's no wind shear to weaken it and the water that is fueling it is warm and deep, McNoldy said. Those are the ingredients for a record storm.

The Bay of Bengal has been the scene of some of the deadliest storms in recent history. The 1999 Orissa cyclone, which was similar in strength to Phailin, killed 10,000 people.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Resources related to Cyclone Phailin

Emergency Operation Centres


  • Balasore: +91-6782-262674
  • Bhadrak: +91-6784-251881
  • Cuttack: +91-671-2507842
  • Dhenkanal: +91-6762-221376
  • Gajapati: +91-6815-222943
  • Ganjam: +91-6811-263978
  • Jagatsinghpur: +91-6724-220368
  • Jajpur: +91-6728-222648
  • Kendrapara: +91-6727-232803
  • Keonjhar: +91-6766-255437
  • Khurda: +91-6755-220002
  • Mayurbhanj: +91-6792-252759
  • Nayagarh: +91-6753-252978
  • Puri: +91-6752-223237

Andra Pradesh

  • Hyderabad: +91-4023-456005 / +91-4023-451043
  • ____________________________________________________________________

Railway Helplines

  • Vizag-0891-2505793, 08935-249672
  • Vizianagaram-08922-225510
  • Srikakulam-08942- 28722
  • Naupada-08945-249728
  • Rayagada-06856-6222407
  • Koraput-06852-251802
  • Source:

Tropical Cyclone Phailin, India, October 2013

Bulletin No.: BOB 04/2013/30

Sub: Very Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘PHAILIN’ over westcentral & adjoining northwest Bay of

Bengal: Cyclone Warning for North Andhra Pradesh and Odisha Coast.

The very severe cyclonic storm, PHAILIN over westcentral & adjoining northwest Bay of
Bengal moved northwestwards during past 6 hours with a speed of 15 kmph and lay centred at 0830
hrs IST of today, the 12 th October 2013 over westcentral & adjoining northwest Bay of Bengal near
latitude 17.8 0 N and longitude 86.0 0 E, about 200 km southeast of Gopalpur, 200 km east-southeast
of Kalingapatnam and 280 km southeast of Paradip. It would move northwestwards and cross north
Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coasts between Kalingapatnam and Paradip, close to Gopalpur
(Odisha) by evening of today i.e. the 12 th October, 2013 as a very severe cyclonic storm with a
maximum sustained wind speed of 210-220 kmph gusting to 240 kmph.

Estimated track and intensity of the system are given in the Table below:


(Lat. 0 N/ Long. 0 E)

Sustained maximum surface
wind speed (kmph)


12-10-2013/0830 17.8/86.0 210-220 gusting to 240 Very Severe Cyclonic Storm
12-10-2013/1130 18.3/85.5 210-220 gusting to 240 Very Severe Cyclonic Storm
12-10-2013/1730 19.1/84.9 210-220 gusting to 240 Very Severe Cyclonic Storm
12-10-2013/2330 19.8/84.5 170-180 gusting to 200 Very Severe Cyclonic Storm
13-10-2013/0530 20.5/83.9 80-90 gusting to 100 Severe Cyclonic Storm
13-10-2013/1730 21.0/84.1 50-60 gusting to 70 Deep Depression
14.10.2013/0530 22.0/83.5 40-50 gusting to 60 Depression

Warning for Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal

(i) Rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and isolated extremely

heavy falls (≥ 25 cm) would occur over coastal Odisha during next 48 hrs and over interior
Odisha from today afternoon for subsequent 48 hrs. Rainfall at most places with isolated
heavy to very heavy falls would also occur over north coastal Andhra Pradesh during next 48
hrs. Isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur over coastal areas of West Bengal
commencing from afternoon of today i.e. the 12 th October.

(ii) Gale wind: Gale winds speed reaching 70-80 kmph gusting to 90 kmph would prevail along

and off Odisha and north Andhra Pradesh coasts during next 6 hours. It would increase in
intensity thereafter with gale wind speed reaching 100-150 kmph from noon and 210-220
kmph gusting to 235 along and off coastal districts of north coastal Andhra Pradesh and
south Odisha at the time of landfall. State of Sea along and off Odisha and north Andhra

Pradesh coast is high and will become gradually phenomenal from forenoon of today. It will

be rough to very rough along and off West Bengal coast during the above period.

(iii) Storm Surge Guidance: Storm surge with height of 3.0 to 3.5 metre. above astronomical tide

would inundate low lying areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts of Odisha and

Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh during landfall.

(iv) Damage expected over Odisha and adjoining north Andhra Pradesh: Extensive damage to

kutcha houses. Some damage to old buildings. Large scale disruption of power and communication

lines. Disruption of rail and road traffic due to extensive flooding. Potential threat from flying debris.

Flooding of escape routes. Extensive damage to agricultural crops.

(v) Action suggested: Fishermen are advised not to venture into sea along north Andhra Pradesh,

Odisha and West Bengal coast. Total suspension of fishing operations. Large scale evacuation of

population from coastal areas. Total suspension of rail and road traffic in vulnerable areas . People in

affected areas to remain indoors.

Post landfall outlook: Even after landfall the system is likely to maintain the intensity of very

cyclonic storm for 6 hours and gradually weaken into a cyclonic storm in subsequent 6 hours while

moving northwestwards across interior Odisha. Under its influence rainfall at most places with heavy

falls at a few places and extremely heavy falls at isolated places would occur over Odisha. Rainfall at

many places with isolated heavy to very heavy falls would also occur over north coastal Andhra

Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and south Jharkhand. Squally wind speed reaching 100-120 kmph would also

prevail for 6 hours and 60-70 for subsequent 6 hours over Odisha during the same period.

The next bulletin will be issued at 1430 hrs IST of today, the 12 th October, 2013.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sinead O'Connor warns Miley Cyrus against exploitation

Singer Sinead O'Connor has written an open letter to fellow singer and actress Miley Cyrus warning her not to be exploited by the music business.

The 46-year-old wrote to Cyrus, 20, after she cited O'Connor's video Nothing Compares 2 U as an inspiration for her explicit Wrecking Ball video.

"Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited," wrote O'Connor.

"Please, in future, say no when you are asked to prostitute yourself."

O'Connor said she was prompted to write, "in the spirit of motherliness" after "dodging phone calls from various newspapers" who wanted the singer-songwriter to comment upon similarities between the two videos.

The video for Nothing Compares 2 U is principally a close-up of O'Connor, who sheds a single tear as she performs the Prince-penned break-up ballad.

Cyrus cries in the promo clip for Wrecking Ball, which shares similar lyrical themes to O'Connor's song. But the video also finds her licking a sledgehammer and swinging naked on a metal demolition ball.

"I am happy to hear I am somewhat of a role model for you and I hope that because of that you will pay close attention to what I am telling you," wrote O'Connor.

"I am extremely concerned for you that those around you have led you to believe, or encouraged you in your own belief, that it is in any way 'cool' to be naked and licking sledgehammers in your videos.

"It is in fact the case that you will obscure your talent by allowing yourself to be pimped, whether it's the music business or yourself doing the pimping.

"It is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent.

"You are worth more than your body or your sexual appeal. The world of showbiz doesn't see things that way," continued the Irish singer.

"They're there for the money, we're there for the music. It has always been that way and it will always be that way. The sooner a young lady gets to know that, the sooner she can REALLY [be] in control."

'Rag heap'

Cyrus, who found fame as the child star of Disney children's show Hannah Montana, has been criticised in recent weeks for her controversial performances, most particularly at the MTV Video Music Awards in Brooklyn last month.

"You also said in Rolling Stone that your look is based on mine," wrote O'Connor. "The look I chose, I chose on purpose at a time when my record company were encouraging me to do what you have done.

"I felt I would rather be judged on my talent and not my looks.

"I am happy that I made that choice, not least because I do not find myself on the proverbial rag heap now that I am almost 47 years of age.

"Whether we like it or not, us females in the industry are role models and as such we have to be extremely careful what messages we send to other women," concluded O'Connor.

"The message you keep sending is that it's somehow cool to be prostituted.. it's so not cool Miley... it's dangerous."

Last month Cyrus, who is the daughter of country star Billy Ray Cyrus, topped the UK singles chart for the first time with We Can't Stop.

Qatar faces no threat to its right to host 2022 World Cup

Fifa will announce on Friday that Qatar faces no threat to its right to host the 2022 World Cup, sources close to the governing body have told BBC Sport.
The Gulf state faces allegations about its treatment of migrant workers, while there are also fears that searing summer temperatures in Qatar of more than 40C could risk the health of players and supporters.
But it appears Fifa will stick by Qatar, which saw off competition from Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States to host the event.
Fifa is expected to announce plans to monitor the issue of migrant workers on Friday following revelations last month in the Guardian.

At the same time, it also intends to form a taskforce - likely to be led by Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa - to examine alternative dates for the tournament.
The body will engage with all significant stakeholders, including domestic leagues across the world, before quickly reporting back to Fifa with a plan of action.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who said in August that he wanted to move the tournament away from the traditional months of June and July, intended for the world governing body to vote for a scheduling switch on Friday in Zurich.
But a number of Fifa's influential executive committee members, among them Uefa president Michel Platini, felt more time was needed for proper consultations to take place.
If Fifa decides to switch the timings of the 2022 World Cup, Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the head of the Fifa inspection team that assessed Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid, believes the tournament should be moved to January and February, when temperatures in the Gulf state average about 22C.
However, that could lead to a potential clash with other big sporting events, notably the Winter Olympics and American football's Super Bowl, as well as domestic football leagues and the Champions League.
New International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach has said he is confident there will be no clash with the Winter Olympics.

American TV network Fox, World Cup rights-holder for North America, is understood to be concerned over the commercial implications of any move that would see any clash with the NFL season, let alone the Super Bowl.
If the IOC and Fox can be accommodated, Fifa could still face the ire of Australia, Japan, South Korean and the United States, who all lost out to Qatar in the race to stage the 2022 World Cup.
Australia is demanding compensation from Fifa, arguing that it based its bid on a World Cup held in June and July.
Football's governing body claims there are no grounds for compensation as all bidders had to accept there could be a change to the schedule at the governing body's behest.
The executive committee's meeting began on Thursday, when Brazil's preparations for next year's World Cup were discussed.
Former France, Fulham, Manchester United and Everton striker Louis Saha told BBC Sport he thought it was impossible for players to handle the Middle Eastern country's extremely high summer temperatures.
"I was in Qatar recently and it was 48C," he said. "Believe me, it is impossible to have a proper game down there."
In recent months there has been opposition to moving the tournament, notably from the English Premier League, whose chief executive Richard Scudamore predicted "chaos" if a switch to the northern hemisphere winter is approved.

Fifa's decision makers
The 25-strong executive committee that will decide the fate of the 2022 World Cup

President: Joseph S Blatter, Switzerland (pictured above).

Senior vice-president: Julio H Grondona, Argentina.

Vice-presidents: Issa Hayatou, Cameroon, Angel MarĂ­a Villar Llona, Spain, Michel Platini, France, David Chung, Papua New Guinea, HRH Prince Ali Bin AL Hussein, Jordan, Jim Boyce, Northern Ireland, Jeffrey Webb, Cayman Islands.

Members: Michel D'Hooghe, Belgium, Senes Erzik, Turkey, Worawi Makudi, Thailand, Marios Lefkaritis, Cyprus, Jacques Anouma, Ivory Coast, Rafael Salguero, Guatemala, Hany Abo Rida, Egypt, Vitaly Mutko, Russia, Mohamed Raouraoua, Algeria, Theo Zwanziger, Germany, Marco Polo Del Nero, Brazil, Sunil Gulati, USA, Eugenio Figueredo, Uruguay, Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, Bahrain, Zhang Jilong, China, Lydia Nsekera, Burundi.

Indonesia arrests top judge on corruption charges

Mr Mochtar was arrested at his home in Jakarta, officials say

The chief justice of Indonesia's Constitutional Court has been arrested for alleged bribery, officials say.
Akil Mochtar was arrested by anti-corruption officials late on Wednesday for allegedly accepting at least $250,000 (£154,000) in bribes.
Officials say the arrest, the latest in a series of high-profile cases, was linked to a regional election.
The Constitutional Court, established in 2001, holds the same legal standing as the country's Supreme Court.
Its responsibilities include hearing cases concerning the constitution and making decisions on election-related cases.
The court has developed a reputation as a respected judicial institution over the years, observers say.
Mr Mochtar, 62, was elected for a five-year term to the constitutional court this year. He was previously a member of the Golkar party before joining the Constitutional Court.
He was arrested at his home in Jakarta after a businessman and a lawmaker allegedly handed him money, a spokesman for the Corruption Eradication Commission said on Thursday.
The case was linked to a disputed election on Borneo island, the Agence France-Presse news agency says.
Two other people have also been arrested in connection with the case.
Last month, the anti-corruption court found a police general guilty of corruption and money laundering.
Djoko Susilo was sentenced to 10 years in prison and handed a fine.

Deadly hornets kill 42 people in China, injure over 1,500

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Swarms of aggressive hornets, in their fall mating season, are inflicting a deadly toll in a central Chinese province.
Hornets have killed 42 people and injured 1,675 people in three cities in Shaanxi province since July, according to the local government. Thirty-seven patients remain in critical or serious condition.
Over the summer and early fall, hornets have invaded schools full of children and descended upon unsuspecting farm workers in China.
One of them is Mu Conghui, a woman who was attacked in Ankang City while looking after her millet crop.
"The hornets were horrifying," she told Xinhua, the Chinese state-run news agency. "They hit right at my head and covered my legs. All of a sudden I was stung and I couldn't move.
"Even now, my legs are covered with sting holes."Killer hornets sting nearly 600 people Two months, 13 dialysis treatments and 200 stitches later, Mu still remains hospitalized and unable to move her legs.

The influx of venom to the human body can cause allergic reactions and multiple organ failure leading to death. Patients like Mu have been receiving dialysis to remove the toxins from her body. In photos, patients bore deep dark craters scattered across their limbs, the size of bullet wounds.Government authorities say these attacks are from a particularly venomous species, the world's largest hornet, known as the Asian giant hornet or vespa mandarinia.The giant hornet extends about 3.5 to 3.9 centimeters in length, roughly the size of a human thumb. It has an orange head with a black tooth used for burrowing, according to an animal database at the University of Michigan.Dr. Wang Xue, director of the intensive care unit at First Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University and an expert of the provincial hornet sting treatment guidance unit, warned in a Shaanxi government release that hornets tend to be aggressive and more active during September and October -- their breeding season. The hornets do not go into hibernation until December, according to local government authorities.

Local authorities have deployed thousands of police officers and locals to destroy the hives. So far, about 710 hives have been removed and at least 7 million yuan (about $1.1 million U.S.) sent to areas affected by hornets, according to a government press release.The spate of attacks could be caused by the unusually dry weather in the area, authorities say. The arid environment makes it easier for hornets to breed. Urbanization could also be a contributing factor, as humans move into hornets' habitats. Some experts cited in Xinhua stated additional factors such as increased vegetation and a decrease in the hornets' enemies, such as spiders and birds because of ecological changes.Humans can inadvertently irritate the hornet hives, as most are tucked away in secluded places, such as tree hollows or even underground.

About 30 to 50 deaths are reported each year in Japan from such attacks, according to Japanese studies. Most of the deaths are due to allergies to the venom, said Shunichi Makino, director general of the Hokkaido Research Center for Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute."It's very difficult to prevent the attacks because hornet nests are usually in hidden sites," he said.
Makino, who specializes in entomology, warned that the sting from an Asian giant hornet was severe compared with those of other insects.

"The venom of an Asian giant hornet is very special compared with other hornets or yellow jackets," he said. "The neurotoxin -- especially to mammals including humans -- it's a special brand of venom."
The giant hornets are also destructive to western honey bees. Research in Japan suggests tens of thousands of honey bee hives are damaged by the giant hornets each year. The species feed their young with the larvae of other insects and use their mandibles to sever the limbs and heads of their prey. The hornet's venom sting is a neurotoxin so powerful that it dissolves human tissue, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.The giant hornets are attracted to human sweat, alcohol and sweet flavors and smells. They are especially sensitive to when animals or people run, according to Xinhua.
One victim told local media earlier this month that "the more you run, the more they want to chase you." Some victims described being chased about 200 meters (656 feet) by a swarm.
Every breeding season, the giant hornets produce an average of 10,000 offspring. They feast on other insects such as wasps and bees, launching coordinated attacks on the hives of their prey.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

US shutdown halts Barack Obama's Malaysia trip

President Barack Obama has called off his trip to Malaysia to tackle the US government shutdown, the office of Malaysia's PM Najib Razak has said.

Secretary of State John Kerry will represent him next week instead, the office said.

The US government has partially shut down after the two houses of Congress failed to agree a new budget.

More than 700,000 federal employees face unpaid leave, and national parks, museums and many buildings are closed.

Mr Obama earlier vowed not to allow Republicans to undermine his signature healthcare legislation as a condition to restart the US government.

"They demanded ransom," Mr Obama said.

Four-nation trip
Mr Najib's office said Mr Obama had called the prime minister on Wednesday to inform him that Mr Kerry would address an entrepreneurship conference in Kuala Lumpur on 11 October in his place.

Mr Obama's visit would have been the first by a US president to Malaysia since Lyndon B Johnson in 1966.

Mr Obama had been scheduled to begin a four-nation Asian trip on Saturday to boost economic ties.

It would also have taken in Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines.

There has been no confirmation yet of what Mr Obama intends to do with the rest of the itinerary.

This is the third time in three years Mr Obama has called off Asian trips.

In 2010, a vote on health care and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill forced separate cancellations.

'Hyper-partisan speeches'
The US government ceased operations deemed non-essential at midnight on Tuesday, when the previous budget expired.

National parks and Washington's Smithsonian museums are closed, pension and veterans' benefit cheques will be delayed, and visa and passport applications will go unprocessed.

However, members of the military will be paid.

  • State department will be able to operate for limited time
  • Department of defence will continue military operations
  • Department of education will still distribute $22bn (£13.6bn) to public schools, but staffing is expected to be severely hit
  • Department of energy - 12,700 staff expected to be sent home, with 1,113 remaining to oversee nuclear arsenal
  • Department of health and human services expected to send home more than half of staff
  • The Federal Reserve, dept of homeland security, and justice dept will see little or no disruption
  • US Postal Services continue as normal
  • Smithsonian institutions, museums, zoos and many national parks will close
  • Mr Obama blamed conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives for the government shutdown, saying "one faction of one party" was responsible because "they didn't like one law".
  • "They've shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans," Mr Obama said.
  • The White House rejected a Republican plan to fund only a few portions of the government - national parks, veterans' programmes and the budget of the District of Columbia.
  • The Republicans have called for more negotiations.
  • A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner called the White House's position "unsustainably hypocritical".
  • Rory Cooper, a spokesman for Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, accused Mr Obama of "hyper-partisan speeches".
  • An opinion poll released on Tuesday suggested the American public was inclined to fault the Republican strategy.