Impact of hurricanes in Central America infographic

November 26, 2020 – The destruction caused by hurricanes Eta and Iota raises fears of a new wave of mass migration from Central America as the region is already facing an economic crisis linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

Eta made landfall on November 3 in Nicaragua, leaving a path of death and destruction from Panama to Mexico. Two weeks later, Iota hit the same stretch of Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast, pouring more rain on still flooded countries. At least 150 people were killed and more than 100 remain missing.

The same day Eta landed, U.S. voters elected Joe Biden amid a pandemic that has devastated the continent for more than eight months. The Democrat has promised a more compassionate approach to immigration even as desperate families weigh their options inside mud-filled Central American homes.

Among the hardest-hit areas was Honduras’ north, the country’s most productive agricultural region. The Sula Valley reported massive crop losses raising fears of food shortages.

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The destructive trajectory of Hurricane Eta infographic

November 9, 2020 – Tropical Storm Eta is forecast to become a hurricane as it returns to the Gulf of Mexico after hitting the Florida Keys and Cuba. The storm earlier left a death toll in Central America.

Eta had maximum sustained winds of 100km/h on Sunday night and was centred about 45km east-northeast of Marathon, Florida. It was moving west-northwest at 22km/h.

The storm swelled rivers and flooded coastal zones in Cuba, where 25,000 had been evacuated. But there were no reports of deaths.

Eta earlier hit Cuba, even as searchers in Guatemala were still digging for people believed buried by a massive, rain-fuelled landslide. Authorities on Sunday raised the known death toll there to 27 from 15 and said more than 100 were missing in Guatemala, many of them in the landslide in San Cristobal Verapaz.

At least 20 people also were reported dead in southern Mexico and local officials in Honduras reported over 40.

Eta initially hit Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane, and authorities from Panama to Mexico were still surveying the damages following days of torrential rains during the week.

In Guatemala, search teams first had to overcome multiple landslides and deep mud just to reach the site where officials have estimated some 150 homes were devastated.

In the worst-hit village, Quejá, at least five bodies have been pulled from the mud. The indigenous community of about 1,200 residents consisted of simple homes of wood and tin roofs clinging to the mountainside.

In southern Mexico, across the border from Guatemala, 20 people died as heavy rains attributed to Eta caused mudslides and swelled streams and rivers, according to Chiapas state civil defense official Elías Morales Rodríguez.

The worst incident in Mexico occurred in the mountain township of Chenalho, where 10 people were swept away by a rain-swollen stream; their bodies were later found downstream.

Flooding in the neighbouring state of Tabasco was so bad that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador cut short a trip to western Mexico and was flying to Tabasco, his home state, to oversee relief efforts.

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Controversial “Apple One” subscription infographic

November 3, 2020 – Apple launched its “One” subscription plan that bundles key services, including Apple Music, into one package at an attractive price – drawing the ire of its streaming rival Spotify.

Two months after Apple revealed its “One” subscription package, it has finally arrived.

Apple One bundles together six of its subscription apps into one single, cheaper subscription. Good news for users, not so much for rival services such as Spotify.

The bundle includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, iCloud, Apple News+ and the upcoming Apple Fitness+ workout streaming app.

With so many useful, even indispensable, apps rolled into one package, it’s likely going to be popular, especially for customers with all those apps already who could save up to $25 a month.

But in doing so, Apple is drawing the ire of developers of rival services who do not have the power or cash of Apple, and who simply cannot compete with them at this level.

In September, on first hearing of the upcoming new subscription service, Spotify issued an antitrust complaint, accusing Apple of abusing its power. It fears Apple One is too attractive for customers to decline, with many Spotify users likely to switch to Apple Music.

It remains to be seen what damaging effect Apple One will have on Spotify’s market share and indeed those of other music streaming vendors like Amazon and YouTube.

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Increase in natural disasters in the past 20 years infographic

October 13, 2020 – Nearly twice as many natural disasters have been reported in the past 20 years compared to the preceding two decades, with climate change responsible for much of the increase, according to a UN report

The organisation warned that if the world doesn’t get to grips with the climate emergency, the situation will continue to worsen.

Between 2000 and 2019, there were 7,348 natural disasters recorded globally, which was almost twice as many as between 1980 and 1999, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) said.

Climate-related disasters were responsible for the bulk of the rise, increasing from 3,656 (1980-1999) to 6,681 (2000-2019).

While the number of deaths from natural disasters hasn’t greatly increased in the last two decades (1.19 million between 1980-1999 compared to 1.23 million between 2000-2019) the number of people affected has shot up, from 3.25 billion to 4 billion.

China and the United States reported the highest number of disasters, followed by India, the Philippines, and Indonesia. These countries have relatively high population densities in at-risk areas, the report said.

The years 2004, 2008 and 2010 were the most devastating, with more than 200,000 deaths in each of these years.

The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was the deadliest event, killing more than 220,000 people.

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Champions League 2020-21 team guide infographic

October 20, 2020 – May 29, 2021 – The new season of the European UEFA Champions League kicks off on October 20 and culminates with the final at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Turkey on May 29, 2021.

The 2020-21 UEFA Champions League is the 29th season of Europe’s primary club football tournament.

Bayern Munich are aiming for seventh title to equal AC Milan as joint-second most successful club in European Cup history, behind Spanish giants Real Madrid, with 13 titles.

The UEFA Champions League is contested by the highest ranked teams of the strongest UEFA national associations. It is the top club competition in European football and one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world. The Champions League final is the most watched annual sporting event worldwide.

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Hurricane Delta adds to costly year for US infographic

October 9, 2020 – Spurred by the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Delta – the 25th named storm of the year – is heading swiftly toward Louisiana

Hurricane Delta, the season’s 25th named storm, has battered Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and is now barrelling towards the Louisiana coast, the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico fuelling the tropical cyclone’s strength.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the U.S. has been struck by 16 climate-related disasters costing more that $1 billion each so far in 2020 – tying with previous record-holding years, 2011 and 2017.

With three months still to go in 2020, and with hurricane season officially running until November 30, more costly storms could be on the way.

Add to the mix a fusion of California wildfires that began in August and one can see why costs this year have reached just shy of $50 billion. The west coast inferno has become the first recorded “gigafire” — a new term for a blaze that burns at least a million acres (405,000 hectares) of land.

As more heat is trapped within Earth’s atmosphere, so too air and water holds more energy to feed storms. Last month was globally the hottest September on record, with temperatures in the U.S. 1.3°C above the 20th century average.

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CLIMATE: Hurricane Delta infographic

October 7, 2020 – The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Delta, possibly the most powerful among those that have affected the states and coastal tourist areas of the Mexican Caribbean.

Delta, the 25th named Atlantic storm this year, rapidly intensified into a major Category 4 hurricane on Tuesday before weakening slightly as it closed in on Yucatan.

But forecasters warned that Delta was still extremely dangerous, capable of bringing a life-threatening storm surge that could raise water levels by up to four metres (3 feet), along with large and dangerous waves and flash flooding inland.

Delta was forecast to spend several hours lashing the Yucatan Peninsula before moving into the Gulf of Mexico and re-strengthening before a strike on the U.S. Gulf Coast later in the week.

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