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Japan supercars in $4 million highway pile-up

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Speeding was fingered as a possible cause Monday of what is believed to be Japan’s most expensive ever road accident when up to $4 million-worth of supercars ended up in a crumpled heap on a highway.

Eight Ferraris and a Lamborghini — plus a Toyota Prius — were among the vehicles involved in the crash, which witnesses said happened when a speeding car slid across a wet road surface.

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Television footage showed mangled Ferraris — many of them racing red — and debris spread over some 400 metres (yards) of the east-bound side of the Chugoku Expressway, the main trunk road in southern Honshu.

A pack of about 20 supercars was travelling in convoy on Sunday morning on a stretch of wet highway when the leading Ferrari slid into a guardrail, police said.

Those behind slammed on their brakes, but for many of them it was apparently too late.

“I’ve never seen such a thing,” highway patrol lieutenant Eiichiro Kamitani told AFP by telephone. “Ferraris rarely travel in such large numbers.”

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Kamitani said 10 people — five men and five women — sustained slight injuries, in the accident. “It is highly possible that they were driving in couples.”

“Many of them were probably on their way to Hiroshima,” some 130 kilometres (80 miles) to the east, for a gathering of supercars there, said Kamitani.

“Speeding was possible but we have yet to determine the exact cause,” he added.

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The Prius and a second Toyota also caught up in the 14-car smash were not thought to be part of the supercar pack. The three other vehicles involved in the accident were all Mercedes-Benz.

An unidentified male eyewitness told the TBS network: “A group of cars was doing 140-160 kilometres (85-100 miles) per hour. One of them spun and they all ended up in this great mess.”

The speed limit on that section of the highway was 80 kilometres per hour.

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“The front car crashed into the left embankment and bounced off toward me,” another man told public broadcaster NHK.

One of the Ferraris was reported to be a F430 Scuderia, a model with a top speed of 320 kilometres per hour.

Kamitani said the lead Ferrari was being driven by a 60-year-old self-employed man from Chikushino, near Fukuoka, on the southern island of Kyushu.

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Japanese media said the total cost of the pile-up could run to 300 million yen ($3.8 million), with new Ferraris retailing at more than 20 million yen each and Lamborghinis costing anything up to 30 million yen.

Supercars are not necessarily owned by the super-rich in Japan. Many owners are young people who save up their earnings to satisfy their dream, according to media.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Bolsonaro rejects ‘Captain Nero’ tag over Amazon fires

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Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro denied Thursday that his policies were to blame for raging wildfires in the Amazon and accused the media of harming the interests of the country by branding him a "Captain Nero."

"I do not defend the burnings, because there always was and always will be burnings. Unfortunately, this has always happened in the Amazon," Bolsonaro said, referring to dry season, land-clearing fires.

"But accusing me of being a Captain Nero setting fire to things is irresponsible. It is campaigning against Brazil," the president told reporters outside his Brasilia residence.

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New images from asteroid probe offer clues on planet formation

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Photographs snapped by a shoebox-sized probe that explored the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu have offered new clues about its composition, insights that will help scientists understand the formation of our solar system.

The German-French Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) hitched a ride on Japan's Hayabusa2 spaceship, touching down on the 900-meter (3,000 feet) wide asteroid, whose orbit lies mostly between Earth and Mars, on October 3, 2018.

Ryugu's gravity is 66,500 times weaker than Earth's, and the forward motion of wheels would have launched MASCOT back into space.

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US raps China for ‘escalation’ in South China Sea

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The United States on Thursday sharpened its criticism of China's activities in disputed areas of the South China Sea, slamming an "escalation" in efforts to intimidate other claimants" such as Vietnam.

China redeployed a government-owned survey vessel -- with armed escorts -- into the waters off Vietnam earlier this month, the US said.

Hanoi says those waters are part of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The move could reignite a spat between Beijing and Vietnam over rights to the resource-rich waters in the South China Sea. Other countries in Southeast Asia also have claimed parts of the sea.

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