Charleston: Streams of cars clogged roads leading away from the coast of North and South Carolina on Tuesday as residents began fleeing ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence, a powerful Category 4 storm barrelling towards the eastern US states.
While many coastal residents heeded mandatory evacuation orders, others were boarding up homes and businesses and choosing to brave the storm.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned that this would be a grave mistake and said people in evacuation zones “need to get out now.”
“This is not a storm that people need to ride out. This is a storm that is historic, maybe once in a lifetime,” Cooper told reporters. Up to 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been given voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders, according to emergency management officials, as the storm churns across the Atlantic Ocean towards the coast.
The east-bound lanes of several major highways have been shut down to allow for a smooth flow of traffic inland.
“We are already experiencing heavily impacted traffic on some of the evacuation routes,” said Jeff Byard, the associate administrator for response and recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Forecasters are predicting that Florence will make landfall in the Carolinas late Thursday or early Friday as a Category 3 hurricane. At 2:00 pm (2330 IST), Florence was a Category 4 hurricane packing winds of 215 kilometers per hour, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
It was located 1,360 kms east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving at 17 29 kph in a west-northwest direction. Briefing from the Oval Office, President Donald Trump urged people to heed orders to evacuate, saying “if you are asked to leave, get out.”
“This will be a storm that’s going to be far larger than we have seen in perhaps decades,” Trump said. “We’re as ready as anybody has ever been,” the president added. “We are sparing no expense.” – ‘Direct hit’.
Trump will suffer same fate as Saddam: Iran’s Rouhani
Tehran :President Hassan Rouhani says Iranians will defeat US President Donald Trump like what they did to former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
He made the remarks in a military parade in Tehran on Saturday to mark the beginning of the week that commemorates Iran’s eight-year resistance against Iraq’s 1980-88 invasion.
About 600 vessels took part in the Persian Gulf naval drill, a day after Iran held aerial exercises in the waterway, vowing that a “pounding reply” awaited the country’s enemies.
Trump withdrew from a landmark multilateral nuclear deal in May and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic last month.
“The same will happen to Trump. America will suffer the same fate as Saddam Hussein,” Rouhani said.
The president also said Iran will not abandon its defensive weapons, including its missiles “that make America so angry”.
Guterres to make first India visit as UN chief on Oct 1, to open UN House
United Nations:UN chief Antonio Guterres will travel to India early next month, his first trip to the country as head of the world body that coincides with the commencement of events marking the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
The Secretary-General will arrive in New Delhi on October 1. His visit coincides with the beginning of events to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2 next year, Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Farhan Haq told reporters here on Friday.
On October 1, Guterres will formally open the new UN House in New Delhi and on October 2, the Secretary-General will participate in the closing session of the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention.
During the visit, he will meet President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on October 3.
He will also meet with Speaker of the Lok Sabha Sumitra Mahajan before giving a lecture at the India Habitat Centre on Global Affairs on the theme ‘Global challenges, global solutions’.
The Secretary-General will also take part in the General Assembly of the International Solar Alliance. In the afternoon of October 3, he will visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar and will return to New York on October 4.
Guterres had visited India in July 2016, just months ahead of the election for Secretary General. During his visit then, he had met Swaraj.
Replying to a question on Guterres’ trip to the Golden Temple, Haq said that the visit is essentially a personal one as the UN chief wanted to see the holy Sikh pilgrimage site.
When asked if Guterres will be asked questions about the 1984 Sikh riots, Haq said it was a bit “premature” to mention the topics he will bring up.
Haq also expressed the world body’s gratitude to the Indian government for its contribution of $1 million to install solar panels and a green roof on the Conference Building of the United Nations Secretariat.
The contribution was received by Under-Secretary-General for Management Jan Beagle, who said that “India’s generous contribution sends a strong message promoting innovation for action on climate change, and to enable greater efficiencies”.
The initiative will help the Secretariat reduce its carbon footprint and promote sustainable energy, Haq added.
Rouhani vows to boost Iran missiles despite western concerns
Tehran: President Hassan Rouhani vowed on Saturday to boost Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities despite Western concerns that were cited by his US counterpart Donald Trump in May when he abandoned a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran.
“We will never decrease our defensive capabilities… we will increase them day by day,” Rouhani said at a military parade.
“The fact that the missiles anger you shows they are our most effective weapons,” he said, referring to the West. Iran has ballistic missiles with a range of up to 3,500 kilometres (2,200 miles), enough to reach both Israel and US bases in the Middle East.
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