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Louisiana in ruins, 6 dead in wake of Laura as storm moves east | News

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The remnants of Hurricane Laura unleashed heavy rain and twisters hundreds of miles inland from a path of death and mangled buildings along the US Gulf Coast, and forecasters warn of new dangers as the tropical weather blows towards the Eastern Seaboard and the open water of the Atlantic Ocean.

Flooding and more tornadoes were possible as the leftovers of the once fearsome Category 4 hurricane move eastwards through Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama on Friday after an apparent tornado tore through a church and homes in Arkansas on Thursday night. Laura weakened to a tropical depression late on Thursday, but could become a tropical storm again when it moves off the mid-Atlantic coast on Saturday.

More than 750,000 homes and businesses were without power in Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas in the storm’s wake, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks utility reports.

One of the strongest hurricanes ever to strike the United States, Laura was blamed for six deaths as it barreled across Louisiana and parts of Texas.

A sense of relief prevailed that Laura was not the annihilating menace forecasters had feared, but a full assessment of the damage could take days. Buildings were demolished and entire neighbourhoods left in ruins along the coast. Thunderstorms and sizzling heat were expected in the disaster area on Friday, complicating recovery efforts.

 Debris and downed power lines in Lake Charles, Louisiana, after Hurricane Laura passed through the area with strong winds causing extensive damage to the city [Joe Raedle/Getty Images via AFP]

“It is clear that we did not sustain and suffer the absolute, catastrophic damage that we thought was likely,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said. “But we have sustained a tremendous amount of damage.”

Finishing search and rescue efforts was a top priority, Edwards said, followed by efforts to find hotel or motel rooms for those unable to stay in their homes. Officials in Texas and Louisiana both sought to avoid traditional mass shelters for evacuees over fears of spreading COVID-19.

He called Laura the most powerful hurricane to strike Louisiana, meaning it surpassed even Katrina, which was a Category 3 storm that hit the US in 2005.

The hurricane’s top wind speed of 241km per hour (150 miles per hour) put it among the strongest systems on record in the US.

Not until 11 hours after landfall did Laura finally lose hurricane status as it ploughed north and thrashed Arkansas, and up until Thursday evening, it remained a tropical storm with winds of 65km/h (40mph).

Rampant destruction

The storm crashed ashore in low-lying Louisiana and clobbered Lake Charles, an industrial and casino city of 80,000 people.

On Broad Street, many buildings had partially collapsed. Windows were blown out, awnings ripped away and trees split in eerily misshapen ways.

A floating casino came unmoored and hit a bridge, and small planes were thrown atop each other at the airport. A television station’s tower toppled.

Hurricane Laura

A couple, Lonnie Gatte and Teri Goleman, kiss after returning to their residence, a 40-foot camping trailer, to find it completely destroyed in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura in Louisiana [Adrees Latif/Reuters]

A Confederate statue in front of a court that local officials had voted to keep in place just days earlier was knocked down by Laura.

“It looks like 1,000 tornadoes went through here. It’s just destruction everywhere,” said Brett Geymann, who rode out the storm with three relatives in Moss Bluff, near Lake Charles. He described a roar like a jet engine as Laura passed over his house about 2am (06:00 GMT)

“There are houses that are totally gone,” he said.

As the extent of the damage came into focus, a massive plume of smoke visible for miles began rising from a chemical plant.

Police said the leak was at a facility run by Biolab, which manufactures chemicals used in household cleaners and chlorine powder for pools. Nearby residents were told to close their doors and windows, and the fire smouldered into the night.

Four people were killed by falling trees in Louisiana, including a 14-year-old girl and a 68-year-old man. A 24-year-old man died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator inside his residence. Another man drowned in a boat that sank during the storm, authorities said.

Returning home 

No deaths had been confirmed in Texas, which Republican Governor Greg Abbott called “a miracle”. Chevellce Dunn considered herself among the fortunate after a night spent huddling on a sofa with her son, daughter and four nieces and nephews as winds rocked their home in Orange, Texas. Left without power in the sweltering heat, she wondered when the electricity might come back.

“It ain’t going to be easy. As long as my kids are fine, I’m fine,” Dunn said.

More than 580,000 coastal residents evacuated despite fears of infection from the coronavirus pandemic, saving many lives, but it was unclear when their journeys might end.

Thousands to evacuate Texas and Louisiana coasts ahead of storm

There is no electricity or running water in Lake Charles, a city of 80,000, and the coastal towns of Cameron and Holly Beach were swamped by the storm surge. Restoring these services could take weeks.

“People who are outside of Lake Charles, thinking about coming back, they need to be really blunt with themselves about the harsh reality of what they’re coming back to,” Mayor Nic Hunter told NBC’s Today show on Friday. “I’m sorry about that, but we just got hit with the largest hurricane to hit Louisiana in the last 150 years.”

A lower-than-expected storm surge also helped save lives. Edwards said ocean water rose as much as four metres (13 feet) rather than six metres (20 feet) that was predicted.

Laura was the seventh named storm to strike the US this year, setting a new record for US landfalls by the end of August. Laura hit the US after killing nearly two dozen people on the island of Hispaniola, including 20 in Haiti and three in the Dominican Republic.

President Donald Trump planned to visit the Gulf Coast this weekend to assess the damage.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million

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Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe

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A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.



Source – observer.ug

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News

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Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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