Snow disrupts flights, roads across Europe

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Pedestrians walk over the Millennium Bridge on a snowy day in central London on December 10, 2017. Heavy snow fell across northern and central parts of England and Wales and caused disruption, closing roads and grounding flights at Birmingham airport. Up to 10cm is expected to build up quite widely, with 15-20cm in some spots, raising the prospect of roads becoming impassable. (AFP)
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A gritter travels on a main road past snow-covered hills near the village of Diggle in northern England, on December 10, 2017. Heavy snow fell across northern and central parts of England and Wales and caused disruption, closing roads and grounding flights at Birmingham airport. Up to 10cm is expected to build up quite widely, with 15-20cm in some spots, raising the prospect of roads becoming impassable. (AFP)
Updated 12 December 2017
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Snow disrupts flights, roads across Europe

LONDON: Flights at major European airports, including London Heathrow and Schipol airport in Amsterdam, have been canceled after heavy snow left thousands of passengers stranded.

The wintry weather has also caused chaos on roads and rail networks, especially in the the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands. 

In northern France, the busy Port of Calais ferry terminal has reopened, having been forced to close on Sunday and stay closed through much of Monday due to “extreme weather conditions,” according to the BBC. 

On Sunday, in high seas and strong winds a P&O ferry with several hundred passengers aboard ran aground near the port. Nobody was hurt in the incident, but it resulted in some ferries being redirected to Dunkirk, 45 km northeast of Calais.
 
London Heathrow airport is warning travellers to be wary of delays and cancellations, with British Airways telling travelers via its Twitter feed they can claim a refund or rebook their journey, rather than flying on Dec. 11 or 12.

Following the temporary closure of Birmingham Airport on Sunday due to snow, an Emirates Airline jet bound for Birmingham was forced instead to land at Manchester Airport. Emirates told Arab News in a statement: “Following the closure of Birmingham Airport due to snow, Emirates flight EK039 from Dubai to Birmingham was diverted to Manchester. Passengers were taken from Manchester back to Birmingham on coaches.” 


Heathrow flight cancellations have left 50,000 passengers stranded according to The Independent, which reported that 26 long-haul and 140 short-haul British Airways flights were canceled on Sunday. Heathrow is advising passengers that “disruption continues today following yesterday’s weather” and that passenger’s must check the status of their flight before departing for the airport.

Meanwhile on the continent nearly 300 KLM flights were canceled at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport, according to the BBC, which noted that 50 flights were canceled at Brussels airport. Reuters reported that the regional airport of Eindhoven was shut completely on Monday, canceling all flights. Germany and France were were also hit by snow, and flurries were even seen as far south as Venice in northern Italy.

The UK was particularly badly hit by snow on Sunday, with northern Wales receiving over 30cm. Temperatures in Scotland plummeted to almost minus 12 degrees Celsius overnight on Sunday, leaving roads icy for the Monday morning commute. 

Power has now been restored to more than 100,000 homes, following the heaviest snowfall in the UK in four years. The last time the country saw this much snow nationwide was in March 2013, and before that during the winter of 2010.

Hundreds of schools were closed in western England and north Wales on Monday, while much of the country was on a yellow weather warning for snow and ice. All local authority-run schools in the central city of Birmingham have also been shut.​


From ‘minga’ to ‘Maga’ — how the UN heard two world views

US President Donald Trump during a working luncheon hosted by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, front, at the United Nations in New York Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 52 min 28 sec ago
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From ‘minga’ to ‘Maga’ — how the UN heard two world views

  • Trump had his own ideas for solving those very same problems, but they owed little to the minga philosophy

NEW YORK: The president of the United Nations General Assembly, Maria Espinosa, introduced the concept of “minga” to the packed audience at the organization’s HQ on East 44th Street in New York; but an hour later President Donald Trump had reasserted his own view of the world, under the “Maga” banner.
Opening the first day of the UN general debate — the centerpiece of the organization’s annual get together — Espinosa, from Ecuador, explained that minga was a principle by which the people of the Andes lived their lives. Its main tenet was the principle of living and working together in harmony for the betterment of all — an idea sure to win approval at the UN.
With minga the world could solve the big issues it faces, from gender inequality through the environment down to peace and security.
Trump had his own ideas for solving those very same problems, but they owed little to the minga philosophy. Instead, he saw the world through the prism of “strong independent nations” which together would advance the state of mankind.
And, as he made clear, the US was the leader of this band of nation, so his oft-declared amibition of “making America great again” (Maga) would bring the rest of the world along with it to greatness.
“Inside everyone listening here today is the heart of a patriot, filled with the passion that inspired reform and revolutions, economic good, technological progress and works of art. Sovereign independent nations are the only vehicles where freedom, democracy and peace have been enhanced. So we have to protect them,” the president explained.
Not everyone in the audience agreed with Trump’s unilateral view of the world, nor with America’s perceived role in it.
Before he had taken the podium — in presidential dark grey suit, white shirt and long red tie — the two previous speakers had stressed the traditional UN values of collectivism and multilateralism, and received warm applause from the delegates for doing so.
Two South American leaders, President Michel Timer of Brazil and President Lenin Moreno of Ecuador, both talked about the challenges of multilateralism, and obliquely criticized the US over its long-running embargo of Cuba, as well as what they said was the role of American banks in dominating their economies, to the detriment of their people.
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said that multilateralism was “under fire exactly when we need it the most, and, in contrast to Trump’s later comments about trade deficits, explained that what the world was really suffering from was a “trust deficit”, which could sink the international order in a bloody quagmire similar to the First World War.
President Trump made light of such dire warnings. In fact, he was adamant that the future was good, with a booming US economy, strong stock markets, full employment, tax reform and increased see spending on the US military.
“In the two years of my presidency, we have seen more progress that almost any other administration in the history of this country,” he said. The delegates murmured in response.