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Wild storm kills one , 810,000 ordered to evacuate in Japan

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Torrential rainfall pounded south-western Japan, Wednesday leaving one person dead as 810,000 residents were ordered to evacuate, local media reported.

A man was confirmed dead after he was found in a car that was washed away by floodwaters in the city of Takeo on the island of Kyushu, broadcaster NHK reported, citing local police.

Two more people were feared dead in the cities of Saga and Yame on Kyushu, according to NHK.

Authorities issued evacuation orders to about 810,000 residents in the prefectures of Saga, Fukuoka and Nagasaki on the island, NHK said.

Speaking at a news conference, government spokesman Yoshihide Suga urged residents “to take steps such as early evacuation to protect their lives”.

Suga also warned that more heavy rains would hit some areas intermittently.

A TV footage showed a flooded train station and residential areas in the city of Saga.

A number of train services were suspended on Kyushu, operators said.

More than 120 millimetres of rainfall were recorded in the cities of Saga and Taku in a one-hour period earlier in the day, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Police officer work at a flooded street in Saga, southern Japan as a heavy rain hits the city Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. (Takuto Kaneko/Kyodo News via AP).

Rainfall of up to 200 millimetres were forecast for northern Kyushu and up to 150 millimetres for the regions of Hokuriku and Tokai by Thursday noon, the agency said. (dpa/NAN)

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Foreign News

BREAKING: About six injured in U.S. school shooting

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At least six people were injured during a Thursday shooting at a Southern California high school in the U.S., CNN reports.

The report indicates that three of the victims are in critical condition.

According to the report, the L.A County Sheriff’s Department is responding to a shooting at Saugus High School, about 30 miles of north of Los Angeles.

The gunman who carried out the shooting has also been reported dead.

The authorities focused on evacuating the students from the school premises after the shooting.

Thursday’s incident joins a growing list of gun violence in the U.S.

Details later…

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Oil falls as U.S.-China trade deal prospects nosedive

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Oil prices fell on Wednesday as prospects for a trade deal between the United States and China faded, weighing on the outlook for the global economy and energy demand.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the two countries were close to finalising a trade deal, but he fell short of providing a date or venue for the signing ceremony, disappointing investors.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 edged down 32 cents, or 0.5 per cent, to 61.74 dollars a barrel by 0758 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 was at 56.54 per cent, down 26 cents or 0.5 per cent.

A forecast by the International Energy Agency for slower global oil demand growth post-2025 also weighed on the market.

Global oil demand is expected to grow by 1 million barrels per day (bpd) on average to 2025, but is forecast to slow to 100,000 bpd a year from then on as fuel efficiency improves and more electric vehicles hit the road, the IEA said in its annual World Energy Outlook for the period to 2040.

Even as U.S. production growth slows from the breakneck pace of recent years, the world’s top oil producer will still account for 85 per cent of the increase in global oil output to 2030, and for 30 per cent of the increase in gas, the agency said.

The share of global oil production by members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia is seen falling to 47 per cent for much of the next decade, a level not seen since the 1980s.

“The effects have been striking, with U.S. shale now acting as a strong counterweight to efforts to manage oil markets,” IEA’s Executive Director Fatih Birol said.

In the United States, crude oil inventories were forecast to have risen for a third straight week last week, while refined products inventories likely declined, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Tuesday.

Five analysts polled by Reuters estimated, on average, that crude inventories rose around 1.6 million barrels in the week to Nov. 8.

ANZ analysts said the prospects for U.S. crude exports had turned bleak after shipping rates jumped last month, causing inventories to stay above both last year’s level and the five-year average.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) is scheduled to release its data for the latest week at 4:30 p.m. EST (2130 GMT) on Wednesday, while the weekly report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is due at 11:00 a.m. EST on Thursday.

Separately, the 590,000 barrel-per-day Keystone oil pipeline that transports Canadian heavy crude to the United States has restarted operations following an oil spill two weeks ago, a U.S. regulator said on Tuesday.

Traders are now eyeing next month’s meeting between the OPEC and Russia to determine if the group would deepen output cuts to prop up prices.

“We believe the production curbs could be extended beyond Q1 2020, although deeper cuts are unlikely,” ANZ analysts said.

(Reuters/NAN)

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Britain plans to raise minimum national living wage backed by review

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Britain’s plan to raise the minimum wage to two-thirds of median earnings, taking it to 10.50 pounds (13.58 dollars) an hour, was endorsed by an independent review on Monday that found setting a floor on pay had a negligible effect on job creation.

Companies are now likely to see wage costs rise after December’s snap national election whatever the outcome.

Conservative Finance Minister Sajid Javid said in September he would increase the National Living Wage (NLW) to the new target by 2024, provided economic conditions allowed, and expand its reach to all workers over the age of 21, down from 25 now.

The opposition Labour Party said it would raise the minimum wage to 10 pounds (12.93 dollars) an hour immediately if it wins power.

An independent review commissioned by the government from economics professor Arindrajit Dube of the University of Massachusetts Amherst examined the impact of minimum wages in Germany, the United States, Britain and other countries.

“Based on the overall evidence – with a special emphasis on the recent, high quality, evaluations of the NLW and other more ambitious policies internationally – my report concludes that there is room for exploring a higher NLW in the UK up to two-thirds of the median wage,” he said.

“It will also be important to empirically evaluate and recalibrate any such ambitious policy based on new evidence down the road.”

Javid said, “The evidence is clear that our approach is the right one.”

But Labour said Javid’s pledge “was an insult to our hard working people”.

“It’s a derisory offer which people will have to wait years for,” Labour’s finance spokesman John McDonnell said.

“Labour will immediately introduce a real living wage of 10 pounds an hour for everyone 16 and over, outstripping every publicity stunt figure the Tories invent.”

(Reuters/NAN)

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