WORLD Michael flat­tens town in Florida

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

AT least nine peo­ple have been se­ri­ously in­jured and many oth­ers, in­clud­ing an Aus­tralian, have sus­tained lesser in­juries af­ter a tourist bus crashed into an semi- trailer in south­ern Ger­many.

Most of the more than 30 pas­sen­gers as well as the bus and the truck driv­ers were in­jured in the crash near the city of Hei­del­berg, po­lice said.

At least 17 peo­ple were taken to hospi­tal, in­clud­ing five women and three men from Canada, one woman from Aus­tralia, two men from the US, and three Ger­mans.

Five res­cue he­li­copters and seven am­bu­lances at­tended. MALAYSIA has de­cided to abol­ish the death penalty, a se­nior min­is­ter says, with more than 1200 peo­ple on death row set to win a re­prieve fol­low­ing a groundswell of op­po­si­tion to cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment.

The move means Sydney grand­mother Maria Elvira Pinto Ex­posto, 54, who was ar­rested in 2014 and found guilty of drug smug­gling by an ap­peals court in May, will win a re­prieve.

Hu­man Rights Watch hailed the “fab­u­lous news”, say­ing the move would in­crease pres­sure on other coun­tries in the re­gion to fol­low suit. FOUR peo­ple have been ar­rested in In­done­sia for al­legedly sell­ing ba­bies on In­sta­gram.

The ac­count in ques­tion was al­legedly dis­guised as a fam­ily wel­fare agency and in­cluded pho­tos of preg­nant women, ba­bies with their faces blurred out and ul­tra­sound scans, the BBC re­ports.

Im­ages of the women on the Fam­ily Wel­fare In­sti­tu­tion ac­count were ei­ther dark­ened or showed them wear­ing masks to con­ceal their iden­ti­ties. The page de­scrip­tion trans­lates to: “Help­ing to cover some­one’s dis­grace.” SEARCH and res­cue teams are still comb­ing through de­stroyed com­mu­ni­ties on Florida’s Gulf Coast look­ing for sur­vivors of Hur­ri­cane Michael, a mon­ster storm which carved out a swath of de­struc­tion and killed at least six peo­ple in three states.

In Mex­ico Beach, a seafront town where the hur­ri­cane made land­fall, en­tire blocks of houses were razed, boats were tossed into yards and the streets were lit­tered with trees and power lines.

Gov­er­nor Rick Scott said the storm had caused “un­be­liev­able dev­as­ta­tion” in his state’s far north­west, an area known as the Pan­han­dle.

The pri­or­ity was still the hunt for sur­vivors among res­i­dents who failed to heed or­ders to evac­u­ate be­fore the hur­ri­cane hit on Thurs­day morn­ing ( AEDT).

“I’m very con­cerned about our cit­i­zens that didn’t evac­u­ate and I just hope that, you know, we don’t have much loss of life,” Mr Scott said.

More than 2000 Florida Na­tional Guard sol­diers are help­ing in the re­cov­ery work.

There have been six con­firmed storm- re­lated deaths so far – four in Florida, one in Ge­or­gia and one in North Carolina. Michael also caused dam­age in south­ern Alabama.

Last night Michael had al­most run out of steam in the At­lantic af­ter cross­ing North Carolina and Vir­ginia, where dam­age was mi­nor.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump pledged to help the Florida vic- tims, say­ing: “Our hearts are with the thou­sands who have sus­tained prop­erty dam­age, in many cases en­tirely wiped out. We will not rest or wa­ver un­til the re­cov­ery is com­plete.”

Florida of­fi­cials said more than 400,000 homes and busi­nesses were without elec­tric­ity in the state’s north. Nearly 20,000 util­ity work­ers are now restor­ing elec­tric­ity.

Michael came ashore as a cat­e­gory 4 storm with winds of 250km/ h, the most pow­er­ful to hit the Florida since records be­gan in 1851. It was just shy of the high­est cat­e­gory 5.

Home af­ter home was razed from its foun­da­tions in Mex­ico Beach, a town of around 1000 peo­ple, leav­ing just bare con­crete slabs. Roads were im­pass­able and canals were choked with de­bris.

One res­i­dent told CNN: “When the wa­ter came in houses started float­ing. We had fur­ni­ture in our house that wasn’t even our fur­ni­ture. The surge had brought stuff in.

“There’s noth­ing left here any­more,” he said of the town. “Our lives are gone here. All the stores, all the restau­rants, ev­ery­thing.” PRIZE I NCLUDES: Two Qan­tas Econ­omy Re­turn Air­fares Two 15 Day Dis­cover Ja­pan Tours Ac­com­mo­da­tion Ja­pan Air­port Trans­fers Daily Break­fast, Plus Wel­come & Farewell Din­ner Bul­let train from Osaka to Ky­oto All Mon­u­ment En­trance Fees PLUS MUCH MORE!

VALU ED AT

STRANDED: Michael Wil­liams, 70, of Spring­field, Florida waves to pass­ing mo­torists while look­ing for food and wa­ter. Fallen trees blocked his drive­way. Pic­ture: AP

El­iz­a­beth Han­son and her daugh­ter, Emaly Han­son hug a neigh­bour in Mex­ico Beach. Pic­ture: GETTY

An ae­rial view of storm- dam­aged boats in Panama City, Florida. Pic­ture: AFP

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