Hurricane Florence to hit US coast, hundreds of thousands evacuated from homes
Time is running short to get out of the way of Hurricane Florence, a monster of a storm that has a region of more than 10 million people in its potentially devastating sights as it zeroes in on the Southeastern coast in US.
Authorities warned Florence has an enormous wind field that has been growing larger, raising the risk of the ocean surging on to land and making Florence extremely dangerous.
"Do you want to get hit with a train or do you want to get hit with a cement truck?" said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
About 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches, the National Weather Service said.
Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as merely a Category 1 hurricane with winds less than 160 kph, but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion ($1,525,765,000) in damage. Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and he said it will still be an extremely dangerous storm for rain and storm surge.
The hurricane center is forecasting the storm to hover near the coast Saturday (US time) with winds of around 130 kph before landfall, but with rainfall in the 50 to 75 centimetre range and up to nearly 4 metre of storm surge.
President Donald Trump both touted the government's readiness and urged people to get out of the way. "Don't play games with it. It's a big one," he said at the White House.
It's unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out. Airlines had canceled nearly 1,000 flights and counting.
Power company Duke Energy, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.
In Virginia, where about 245,000 residents were ordered to evacuate low-lying areas, officials urged people to remain away from home despite forecast changes showing Florence's path largely missing the state.
Melody Rawson evacuated her first-floor apartment in Myrtle Beach and arrived at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, to camp for free with three other adults, her disabled son, two dogs and a pet bird.
"We hope to have something left when we get home," she said. Three other Southern raceways also opened campgrounds to evacuees.
XXXX and Bondi Beach – what Australia’s anthem should really be about
Yesterday a nine-year-old Australian girl re-opened a bitter debate by refusing to stand for the national anthem at school assembly.
Harper Nielsen thinks the line "for we are young and free" ignores the thousands of years indigenous people lived on the land.
Seven Sharp's Tamati Rimene-Sproat has a go at re-mixing the Aussie anthem with a more inclusive version in the video above.
Queensland businessman who performed depraved sex acts on children jailed for over a decade
A Queensland businessman has been jailed for a decade over a series of depraved sex attacks involving children, including acts of bestiality.
The man, who is aged in his 60s and cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced today in the Brisbane District Court for sustained, predatory abuse of a young girl and a young boy.
The court heard the man filmed some of the acts, which included bestiality involving a dog, and forcing one of the victims to self-harm.
Justice Brad Farr described his behaviour over the six-year period as extraordinary, depraved and degrading for his young victims.
"During the entire offending period you threatened the primary complainant by telling her that you had people who could get her even when she was asleep," he said.
The man's abuse also included instructing the girl to play act during sex as an even younger child.
Police found photos of the victim's bruised body at his home when they raided it.
Justice Farr said the girl, who was assaulted from age 11 until she was 16, was also made to perform sex acts on the other child, who was aged four, more than a dozen times.
"Your behaviour was designed for one reason only, to satisfy your perverse sexual needs and wants," he said.
"With no regard whatsoever to the harm you were doing to the child."
The man, who did not initially co-operate with investigators, also videoed himself taking part in some of the bestiality acts.
He said the man had inflicted emotional, physical, psychological, social and financial harm on his victims and their extended families.
Defence lawyer Alastair McDougall said the man had also been the victim of sexual abuse as a child.
He will be required to serve 80 per cent of his 10-year sentence behind bars before he can apply for parole.
Super Typhoon Mangkhut barrelling towards Philippines packing winds up to 325 kmh
The most powerful typhoon of the season is closing in on the northern Philippines, where officials ordered precautionary evacuations and closures of schools and offices and urged farmers to quickly harvest their crops to reduce damage.
Forecasters said Typhoon Mangkhut, considered as the strongest this year, could hit northern Cagayan province on Saturday (local time).
It was located about 800 kilometres away in the Pacific with sustained winds of 265 kilometres per hour and gusts of up to 325 kmh.
It could maintain the strength of a super typhoon when it hits land in the northeastern corner of Luzon Island.
On Guam, residents woke up Tuesday to flooded streets, downed trees and widespread power outages after Mangkhut passed through overnight.
The Pacific Daily News reported government agencies were conducting damage assessments and beginning to clear roads. About 80 percent of the US territory was without power but it was restored by this morning.
With a massive rain band 900 kilometres wide, combined with seasonal monsoon rains, the storm could bring heavy to intense rains that could set off landslides and flash floods, Philippine state forecaster Meno Mendoza said.
Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba said by telephone that northern coastal and island villages in the typhoon's projected path will begin evacuating residents todayahead of the expected onslaught.
He said classes will be suspended and offices, except those involved in rescue and relief work, advised to close on Friday.
In 2016, a super typhoon lashed the southern section of Cagayan, destroying tens of thousands of houses. Mangkhut is blowing from the Pacific and forecast to directly slam the province's northeastern coastal and island municipalities, Mamba said.
"I'm stressing that this one is very different, this is more complicated because of possible storm surges," Mamba said, referring to giant waves whipped inland by a typhoon.
The typhoon is arriving at the start of the rice and corn harvest season in Cagayan, a major agricultural producer, and farmers were scrambling to save what they could of their crops, Mamba said. The Philippines has been trying to cope with rice shortages.