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.​


‘Key issues unresolved’, UN chief warns climate talks

Updated 12 December 2018
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‘Key issues unresolved’, UN chief warns climate talks

KATOWICE, Poland: “Key political issues” deadlocking UN climate talks “remain unresolved,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Wednesday after an unscheduled stop at the troubled negotiations in Poland.
The fight against climate change is a “matter of life and death today,” he told ministers and delegates at the 195-nation UN forum tasked with beating back the threat of global warming, barely 48 hours before the meet in the coal town of Katowice was set to adjourn.
The two-week talks are tasked with breathing life into the 2015 Paris Agreement, which vows to cap global warming at “well under” two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and funnel hundreds of billions of dollars to poor countries already feeling the sting of deadly storms, heatwaves and droughts made worse by climate change.
But efforts to elaborate a “rule book” for the Paris pact and to boost the carbon-cutting pledges of all nations have run aground, even as a barrage of scientific reports have warned that only immediate and radical measures can avert catastrophic climate impacts.
“The eyes of the world are upon us,” said Guterres, who had not planned to return to the talks after addressing the opening plenary 10 days ago.
“To waste this opportunity would compromise our last best chance to stop runaway climate change,” he said.
“It would not only be immoral, it would be suicidal.”
A major report called for by the UN climate body concluded in October that Earth’s rise in temperature must be capped even lower — at 1.5C — to avoid the danger of runaway warming.
But several countries at the talks, led by the United States and Saudi Arabia, have blocked efforts to endorse the report, which many developing countries see as essential.
“The IPCC report on 1.5C is the basis for all future action, on what we need to do,” Vanuatu Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu told AFP.
Endorsing the report’s findings at the conclusion of the UN forum “is a red line issue for us.”