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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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Health

Sleeping in on weekends may help live longer

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Sleep deprivation has been found to have numerous negative effects on a person’s health. But the new study has shown that sleeping more on the weekend might help ease health problems associated with not getting enough during the week, and even reduce the risk of an early death.

The study, published in Journal of Sleep Research by scientists from Sweden and the United States, suggested that the negative effects of a few nights of short sleep could be counteracted by staying in bed over the weekend.

The from the Stress Research Institute (SRI) at Stockholm University and the Karolinska Institute discovered that people below 65 years old who slept less than five hours on weekends had a higher risk of early death after examining medical and lifestyle data from more than 43,000 adults, following them for a period of 13 years.

For people who slept for less than five hours throughout the week but slept longer on the weekends for about nine hours, there was no increase in mortality risk. But, for people who consistently slept for less than five hours through the whole week, the mortality risk is higher.

Torbjorn Akerstedt, one of the authors of the research and a clinical neuroscience professor from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said that the findings were consistent with previous studies on the link between sleep duration and mortality.

However, those previous studies only focused on sleep during weekdays.

“The results imply that short sleep is not a risk factor for mortality if it is combined with a medium or long weekend sleep,” the researchers wrote in the study.

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