While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Sept 11


Destructive winds, torrential rains rip Florida as Hurricane Irma makes second US landfall

Hurricane Irma made landfall for the second time in Florida on Sunday afternoon (Sept 10), striking Marco Island on its west coast near the popular shopping and golf destination of Naples, US forecasters said, lashing it with 185 kilometre winds and torrential rains, as the state braces for massive storm surges that are expected to cover both coasts. 

Hurricane Irma’s eyewall earlier slammed into the Florida Keys on Sunday (Sept 10) morning, lashing the island chain with violent wind gusts and torrential rain after it  regained Category 4 strength, as the storm’s eye made it to the lower islands in the chain just after 9 am (9 pm Sunday Singapore time).  

Although it  lost some strength as it pounded southern Florida on Sunday afternoon, forecasts warned it would remain powerful. All of southern Florida was feeling the effects of the storm creeping up the west coast, with at least one man killed, a woman forced to  deliver her own  baby, apartment towers swaying in high winds and trees uprooted.  


Hurricane Irma's 11 metre waves slam Havana, winds pummel famed Copacabana

Waves of up to 11 metres smashed businesses along Havana's sea side drive on Sunday morning (Sept 10) in the wake of Hurricane Irma, pummelling famous hotels such as the Copacabana, which were evacuated along with flooded neighbourhoods.

First responders spent the night rescuing people from their homes in central Havana as the sea struck with historic force in the flood-prone area, even as the storm approached Florida to the north.

Irma did not hit Havana directly and brought only moderate wind and rain, but the storm surge was still driving giant waves over the sea wall on Sunday.


Mexico earthquake death toll rises to 90 as aftershocks continue

The death toll from Mexico's strongest earthquake in living memory rose to 90 on Sunday (Sept 10), as the people of the devastated city of Juchitán de Zaragoza mourned their dead and rescue workers began to tally the damage in surrounding villages.

The state of Oaxaca was hit the hardest, with 71 dead, said Agueda Robles, a spokeswoman for the state civil protection agency.

Another 15 were reported to have died in Chiapas, the state to Oaxaca's southeast, with four fatalities in neighboring Tabasco state.

Instead of launching a missile, North Korea throws a party

 North Korea marked its government's 69th anniversary not with another missile test, as many had feared, but with a gala party for the scientists involved in carrying out the country's most powerful nuclear test yet last week, the state-run news media reported on Sunday (Sept 10).

The country's leader, Kim Jong Un, celebrated the national holiday on Saturday by bringing his nuclear scientists and engineers to Pyongyang, the capital, and holding a banquet.

On their way from the country's underground nuclear test site in northeast North Korea to Pyongyang, the technicians had been cheered by people who poured out to see them passing by, the country's official Korean Central News Agency reported. 

Creepy clown lures filmgoers, making It a record-setting hit

The horror movie It arrived as a cultural juggernaut over the weekend, smashing September box office records with an eye-popping US$117.2 million ($157.1 million) in estimated North American ticket sales and ending an alarmingly slow period at multiplexes.

The R-rated movie, adapted from Stephen King's 1986 novel about a demonic clown, Pennywise, who emerges from a sewer to prey on children, had been expected by box office analysts to take in roughly US$70 million over its first three days - a total that seemed almost unbelievable in itself, given that the previous record-holder for a September release was the PG-rated Hotel Transylvania 2, which arrived to about US$50 million in 2015.

Instead, It arrived like a superhero movie. Actually, bigger: With no stars and a modest production budget of about US$35 million, It delivered a larger opening-weekend audience than Wonder Woman.