PANAMA CANAL RESTRICTING SHIP NUMBERS AFTER SEVERE DROUGHT
Panama Canal restricting ship numbers after severe drought
One of the world’s most important shipping routes is about to see a lot less traffic as the Panama Canal cuts back on the number of vessels allowed to pass through. The move could have a major impact on global logistics.
Last month’s rainfall in the region was the lowest recorded since 1950. The drought is due to the effects of the El Niño phenomenon, in which the ocean heats up more than usual near the equator off Peru.
The Panama Canal Authority says water levels in a lake that supplies water to the canal have dropped to unprecedented levels for this time of year. It says the number of daily slots for ships was cut from an average of 36 to 31 on Wednesday and will be gradually reduced to just 18 in February. The operator has also decided to limit the size of vessels allowed to pass through the waterway.
The 80-kilometer canal in Central America links the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and is a key international shipping route.
VOLCANIC ACTIVITY CREATES NEW ISLET NEAR JAPAN’S IOTO
Volcanic activity creates new islet near Japan’s Ioto
A Japanese expert says volcanic eruptions near the Pacific island of Ioto, also known as Iwojima, have created a new islet.
Associate Professor Maeno Fukashi of the University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Institute conducted an aerial survey of the island on October 30. Maeno suspects steam eruptions, caused by magma coming into contact with seawater, are taking place. Ioto is part of the Ogasawara Island chain.
He observed black plumes containing rocks spewing out of the sea every few minutes about one kilometer off Ioto’s southern coast. Maeno says the plumes reached over 50 meters high and some of the rocks were several meters in size.
Maeno says the islet is about 100 meters in diameter. He says that although no volcanic vent has been observed, floating bands of pumice have been seen around the islet. The surrounding seawater has also apparently changed in color. Maeno indicated that eruptions are likely occurring at two or more locations.
ZELENSKYY: WAR IN MIDDLE EAST TAKES FOCUS AWAY FROM UKRAINE
Zelenskyy: War in Middle East takes focus away from Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy admits international concern for his country is declining due to the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
(Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Ukrainian President)
“The war in the Middle East is taking the focus away from Ukraine. I think this is one of Russia’s aims.”
Zelenskyy spoke at a news conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen after talks in Kyiv. He said there have already been times when “there was almost no focus on Ukraine,” and he added he is “absolutely sure we will overcome this challenge.”
Zelenskyy greeted von der Leyen at a railway station in Kyiv ahead of their meeting. A source told NHK he did not offer such a welcome to U.S. President Joe Biden and that the unprecedented gesture reflects his serious concerns about declining interest in Ukraine.
JAPAN MUSEUM’S CROWDFUNDING DRIVE A BIG SUCCESS
Japan museum’s crowdfunding dirve a big success
The people at Japan’s cash-strapped National Museum of Nature and Science say a crowdfunding campaign has drawn an overwhelming response from the public. They say they raised over 900 million yen, or about 6 million dollars. That’s more than nine times their goal.
Museum officials say around 56,000 people contributed to the money-raising drive that ran from early August until Sunday. The institution fell on hard times during the coronavirus pandemic and is now struggling with spiking utility costs.
The museum houses 5 million items that include animal, plant, and fossil specimens. The collection is one of the biggest in the country.
Officials say they will use about a third of the money to buy gifts for contributors and cover campaign costs. They plan to use the rest to expand a storage facility in Tsukuba City, near Tokyo.
HK STUDENT SENTENCED OVER SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS IN JAPAN
HK student sentenced over social media posts in Japan.
A court in Hong Kong has sentenced a student to two months in jail for sedition. The charges relate to social media posts she made while studying in Japan.
The 23-year-old woman was accused of making pro-independence comments on Facebook and elsewhere starting in 2018. She returned to Hong Kong in March and was arrested on suspicion of violating the territory’s national security law. The charges later came under the sedition law.
The court said on Friday that the woman had attempted to incite distrust of the Chinese government through 13 online messages. Eleven were posted in Japan.
Chinese authorities are tightening controls on free speech under the leadership of President Xi Jinping. The court’s decision adds to fears about people being punished in Hong Kong for their actions overseas.