Millions In Florida Evacuate As Hurricane Irma Makes Landfall In Cuba

HAVANA:  Millions of residents in Florida were ordered to evacuate as Hurricane Irma roared toward the state on Friday after lashing Cuba, killing 21 people in the eastern Caribbean and leaving catastrophic destruction in its wake.

Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century, was expected to hit Florida on Sunday morning, bringing massive damage from wind and flooding to the fourth-largest state by population.

A historic evacuation, including from areas around Miami, has been made more difficult by clogged highways, gasoline shortages and the challenge of moving older people in the top retirement destination.

The storm could regain strength and hit the Florida Keys as a Category 5 hurricane, the most powerful designation by the National Hurricane Center, with sustained winds of 160 miles per hour (258 km per hour).

The United States has been hit by only three Category 5 storms since 1851, and Irma is far larger than the last one in 1992, Hurricane Andrew, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“We are running out of time. If you are in an evacuation zone, you need to go now. This is a catastrophic storm like our state has never seen,” Governor Rick Scott told reporters, adding the effects would be felt from coast to coast in the state.

A total of 5.6 million people, or 25 percent of the state’s population, were ordered to evacuate Florida, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

US President Donald Trump said in a videotaped statement that Irma was “a storm of absolutely historic destructive potential” and called on people to heed recommendations from government officials and law enforcement. In Palm Beach, Trump’s waterfront Mar-a-Lago estate was ordered evacuated.

Irma, currently a Category 4 storm with winds of 155 mph (250 kph), was about 315 miles (510 km) southeast of Miami, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory.

As it moved between the Bahamas and Cuba, Irma was forecast to bring dangerous storm surges of up to 10 feet (3 meters) on parts of Cuba’s northern coast and the central and northwestern Bahamas.

The scenes along Cuba’s north central coast were gradually coming to resemble the horrors of those of other Caribbean islands over the last week as Irma barreled in for a direct hit at Ciego de Avila province around midnight.

Choppy seas, grey skies, sheets of rain, bending palm trees, huge waves crashing over sea walls and downed power lines filled state-run television’s evening news cast.

Meteorologists warned that by Saturday morning scenes of far greater devastation were sure to emerge as Irma worked her way along the northern coast westward through Sancti Spiritus and Villa Clara provinces. where it is forecast to turn northward toward Florida.

The area is home to pristine keys with more than 50 hotels and fine beaches, vital money makers for the cash-strapped government.

Residents in the central province of Camaguey hunkered down on Friday night.”There are really strong gusts of wind. It is pouring off and on, and the lights are out,” Anaida Gonzalez, a retired nurse, said by telephone.

BJP Sacks Local Leader In Kerala Over Allegations Of Taking 5 Crore Bribe

BJP Sacks Local Leader In Kerala Over Allegations Of Taking 5 Crore Bribe

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala BJP expelled one of its leaders on allegations of corruption.

RS Vinod would have taken 5 million rupees to a private hospital, promising them an accreditation from the Indian Medical Council.

The leader of the cooperative state cell was expelled Thursday after the BJP was caught by the left and Congress in Parliament.

The legislator of the PCI (M) of Palakkadu MB Rajesh, presented / displayed a notice of postponement in the Lok Sabha, demanding an explanation by the central government.

“This is just the tip of the whole scam. We want the prime minister to talk about political corruption was raised in a party meeting.

Not only is corruption in Kerala but more than 26 universities have obtained recognition from MCI through various channels, “he said.

On Wednesday, a report from the internal commission revealed by Kerala BJP said a local spokesman, took a bottle of wine of more than 5 rupees to help a private hospital to obtain an affiliation with the Indian Medical Council.

The report also reveals alleged links with RS Vinod hawala dealers through which money is transferred from Kochi to Delhi.

“BJP is involved in corruption over 400 million rupees in 70 medical schools in India,” said Hassan, Chairman of the Congressional Committee of Kerala Pradesh.

The BJP state, however, tried to steer clear of corruption. “I do not think the central government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be influenced by any kind of corruption or bribery.

The last 3 years, our government did not succumb to this. I am sure that our position will not change if someone is guilty, “said Muralidharan V, a member of the BJP National Executive Council.

The party, which tried to make political incursions in Kerala, has only one elected representative in the state assembly.

The BJP is likely to discuss the internal investigation report to the central party meeting of today’s party in Alappuzha district in Kerala.