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15km traffic jam: Thousands stranded in car overnight in heavy snow in Japan

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More than 1,000 drivers have been stuck in a 40-hour traffic jam after a highway was hit by record snowfall in Japan.

Queues on the Kanetsu Expressway between Tokyo and Niigata first began on Wednesday but drivers continue to wait on the road today.

The road’s entrance was closed yesterday morning but drivers already on the highway were forced to sleep in their cars and lorries buried in the snow with little food or water.

Traffic began after a car got stuck in snow in the middle of the road.

A driver told NHK: ‘The snow was extremely heavy. As time went by, the cars got buried. I was really scared.

‘I’ve eaten all of my food and drinks. Now, to drink water, I have to melt snow I collect in a plastic bottle.’

The queues stretched to about 9.3 miles (15km) at their peak last night, according to NEXCO.

Some drivers were able to move slowly with starts and stops but others remained stuck in place for more than 40 hours.

Traffic coming from Tokyo eventually cleared but the lanes heading into the capital were still stagnant as of this morning.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said: ‘The government will do its utmost to rescue anyone who is stuck in their vehicle.’

Self-Defence Force troops delivered food, petrol and blankets and helped clear snow last night.

Fire service crews also rescued some drivers, including at least three people who were taken to hospital, according to public broadcaster NHK.

As highway workers in hard-hit areas cleared snow several feet deep, the Meteorological Agency warned of heavier snow over the weekend along the Sea of Japan coast.

Some places are bracing for as much as 32 inches (80cm) of snow amid a cold snap that has affected much of the country.

The military was deployed yesterday to help residents trapped by the snowfall, with 10,000 homes losing power in the north and west of the country.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called an emergency cabinet meeting and urged the public to be cautious.

Over 72 hours, a record 7.12ft (2.17m) of snow fell in Minakami, Gunma prefecture, while Yuzawa in Niigata prefecture, famous for skiing, had a record 5.9ft (1.8m) of snow on Thursday morning.

Snow also fell in the temple city of Kyoto, producing images of delicate pagodas and famed shrines dusted with flakes that delighted social media.

Tsuyoshi Watanabe, a Niigata disaster management official, said he had asked for soldiers to help the vehicles stranded on the highway.

‘We are trying our best to rescue drivers and passengers… we are ready to continue our operation through the night,’ he said.

He said a dozen people had been injured in snow-related accidents in Niigata in the last two days.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency said the storm was forecast to weaken temporarily but more snow was expected for the region over the weekend.

The cold snap comes as Japan battles a spike in coronavirus cases, even though it has had a relatively small outbreak overall and has avoided imposing strict lockdown measures.

The third wave of infections prompted Suga to urge people to avoid travel and has forced the first-ever cancellation of the Sapporo Snow Festival, whose intricate ice sculptures draw thousands every year.

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ഭൂകമ്പം ഫിജിയെ പിടിച്ചുകുലുക്കി, റിക്ടർ സ്കെയിലിൽ 6.0 രേഖപ്പെടുത്തിയ ഭൂചലനം

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സുവ: ദ്വീപ് രാജ്യമായ ഫിജിയിൽ ഭൂചലനം. റിക്ടർ സ്‌കെയിലിൽ 6.0 തീവ്രത രേഖപ്പെടുത്തിയ ഭൂചലനത്തിൽ നാശനഷ്ടങ്ങൾ ഉണ്ടായതായി റിപ്പോർട്ടില്ല. 398 കിലോമീറ്റർ ആഴത്തിൽ പ്രകമ്പനം അനുഭവപ്പെട്ടതായി യുഎസ് ഭൗമശാസ്ത്ര കേന്ദ്രം അറിയിച്ചു. ലെവൂക്ക നഗരത്തിന് 340 കിലോമീറ്റർ കിഴക്ക് മാറിയായിരുന്നു പ്രകമ്പനം. പ്രാദേശിക സമയം രാവിലെ 11.35 ഓടെയായിരുന്നു ഭൂചലനം അനുഭവപ്പെട്ടത്. സുനാമി മുന്നറിയിപ്പുകളൊന്നും നൽകിയിട്ടില്ലെന്ന് അധികൃതർ അറിയിച്ചു. ഭൂചലനം ഉണ്ടായ വിവരം ജർമ്മൻ ജിയോസയൻസ് റിസർച്ച് സെന്ററും സ്ഥിരീകരിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്.

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Archaeologists discover rare 2,000-y-o oil lamp in Jerusalem’s City of David on Pilgrimage Road

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The Israel Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of a rare oil lamp, with its wick still preserved, from under the foundation of a building erected on Jerusalem’s famed Pilgrimage Road soon after the destruction of the Second Temple almost 2,000 years ago.

The IAA researchers believe the bronze lamp, shaped like a grotesque face cut in half and estimated to be from the late first century or the early second century CE, was put in the foundation of the building in Jerusalem’s City of David for good fortune, The Times of Israel reported.

“This half of a lamp, and in fact half a face, which was discovered in the City of David, is a very rare object, with only a few discovered in the whole world, and is the first of its kind to be discovered in Jerusalem,” Yuval Baruch of the IAA was quoted as saying.

“It is possible that the importance of the building, and the need to bless its activity with luck by burying a foundation deposit, was due to its proximity to the Siloam Pool, which was also used in the Roman period as the central source of water within the city,” IAA archaeologist Ari Levy told The Jerusalem Post.

Speaking to Haaretz, Levy explained, “Foundation deposits, in general, go back to the dim reaches of antiquity. It was accepted in construction in general, to bring luck and symbolic defense of the building — and to cast fear and awe on attackers. Its significance was highly symbolic, not functional.”

Haaretz said the lamp featured a goaty male half-face complete with (half a) satyr’s beard and a horned forehead.

Only one other such lamp has ever been found in an archaeological context — and that was in Budapest, according to Levy.

Experts believe that Pilgrimage Road, where the building had been erected, is the path ancient Jews walked to reach the Temple Mount three times a year — in the festivals of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.

“The street was built during the period of Governor Pontius Pilates,” Levy said. “It was inaugurated around the year 30 CE and it was used for about 40 years until the Temple was destroyed in 70 CE.”

Baruch added: “Decorated bronze oil lamps were discovered throughout the Roman Empire. For the most part, such oil lamps stood on stylish candelabras or were hung on a chain. Collections around the world contain thousands of these bronze lamps, many of which were made in intricate shapes, indicating the artistic freedom that Roman metal artists possessed.”
Sources:Christian Post

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