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78 killed, 500 injured as tornado pummel eastern China

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BEIJING — A powerful tornado along with hurricane-force winds, hailstorms, pounding rain have killed at least 78 people in China’s eastern province of Jiangsu and injured nearly 500 others, Xinhua reported.

The tornado hit near the city of Yancheng, according to state broadcaster CCTV and other official media. They said large numbers of people were injured and roads were blocked.

Whole villages were leveled and huge trees felled when winds of up to 125 kilometers per hour struck around Yancheng city.

CCTV showed people carrying the injured to hospitals, cars and trucks flipped over on their roofs, street light poles snapped in half, and steel electricity pylons crumpled and lying on their side.

Some 200 people were left critically injured during the storms and the worst tornado in half a century, which reduced buildings to rubble.

Photos of the scene showed dazed residents near the remains of houses surrounded by tangled telephone wires, splintered wood and toppled poles.

“It was like the end of the world,” said Xie Litian, 62, from Donggou township in Funing County, describing how all the other houses in his neighbourhood had been destroyed.

“I heard the gales and ran upstairs to shut the windows,” he said.

“I had hardly reached the top of the stairs when I heard a boom and saw the entire wall with the windows on it torn away.”

President Xi Jinping ordered “all-out rescue efforts” after what Xinhua said was one of the worst disasters ever to hit Jiangsu.

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Tourist arrivals jumped 73.5 percent in July

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KATHMANDU — Tourist arrivals to Nepal jumped 73.5 percent in the month of July, according to statistics released by Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).

The NTB said that this increment is because of a sharp increase in the number of travellers from countries like India, China, the US and the UK. The growth in the numbers has also been attributed to Indian pilgrims visiting Mount Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet, via Nepal.

The statistics show that Nepal received a whopping 73,285 international tourists in July—a time of the year that is considered to be an off-season for tourists due to the monsoons. With July’s figures, the number of foreign tourists visiting Nepal in the first seven months (January–July) of 2018 reached 593,299, which is an increase of 18 percent as compared to the same period last year.

Total 18,385 Indian tourists visited Nepal via air transport, which is up 80.4 percent compared to the same period last year.

After India, Nepal received the highest number of visitors from China. The Chinese tourist numbers have more than doubled to 13,123 in the month of July. This is a 125.4 percent growth in comparison to the arrivals in the same month last year.

Overall arrivals from SAARC countries registered a growth of 66 percent, in comparison to the same month last year. However, arrivals from Bangladesh declined by nine percent. Arrivals from rest of the Asian countries have also recorded a robust growth of 86.2 percent.

Visitors from Japan and South Korea to Nepal also increased by 36 percent and 21.9 percent respectively.

Likewise, an overall increase of 54.1 percent in July has been recorded from European source markets. However, arrivals from Austria declined by 72.6 percent.

The number of visitors from the US and Canada have also grown by 79.6 percent and 73.3 percent respectively.

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