Snow and wind paralyze European airports, trap drivers

Cars sit covered in snow at an Audi dealership in Lincoln, Britain, Mar 1, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 01 March 2018
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Snow and wind paralyze European airports, trap drivers

GENEVA: Exceptional snow and wind forced airports to close Thursday in Scotland, Switzerland and France and stranded several hundred drivers in their cars as a Siberian cold snap stretched across Europe.
Geneva’s airport closed after the Swiss city was hit with 13 centimeters (about five inches) of snow over a three-hour period in the early morning.
It reopened several hours later after extensive de-icing of the runway, plans and facilities.
Several deaths have been attributed to the unusually cold late-winter weather across Europe. The fatalities include a man in his 60s who was pronounced dead after being pulled from a frozen lake in London on Wednesday, the city ambulance service said.
Snow shut Glasgow and Edinburgh airports in Scotland, and there are cancelations at Heathrow and other airports in Britain. Airports in the southern French cities of Montpellier and the Atlantic beach resort of Biarritz were also affected.
Hundreds of drivers were trapped in their cars overnight in Scotland and authorities said everyone except emergency-services workers should stay off the roads.
Police in the county of Lincolnshire in eastern England say most roads there are impassable, with as much as two feet (60 centimeters) of snow in rural areas.
Forecasters say a new storm is due to bring blizzards, freezing rain and thunderstorms to Ireland, southwestern England and Wales on Thursday.
About 2,000 cars were blocked on highways in the Herault region of southern France, where snow — and snowplows — are extremely rare.
Snow blanketed Paris and the surrounding region Thursday, and authorities urged Paris commuters to leave their cars at home because of dangerous conditions.


Xi says China must lead way in reform of global governance

Updated 42 min 28 sec ago
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Xi says China must lead way in reform of global governance

  • China has sought a greater say in global organizations in line with its growing economic and diplomatic clout
  • Beijing has cast itself a responsible member of the international community

BEIJING: China must lead the way in reforming global governance, the foreign ministry on Saturday cited President Xi Jinping as saying, as Beijing looks to increase its world influence.
China has sought a greater say in global organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and United Nations, in line with its growing economic and diplomatic clout.
Since taking office in late 2012, Xi has taken a more muscular approach, setting up China’s own global bodies like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and launching his landmark Belt and Road project to build a new Silk Road.
Beijing has cast itself a responsible member of the international community, especially as President Donald Trump withdraws the United States from agreements on climate change and Iran, and as Europe wrestles with Brexit and other issues.
China must “uphold the protection of the country’s sovereignty, security and development interests, proactively participate in and show the way in reform of the global governance system, creating an even better web of global partnership relationships,” Xi said in comments reported at the end of a two-day high-level Communist Party meeting.
This would help create conditions for building a modern, strong socialist country, the ministry cited him as saying at the meeting attended by officials from the foreign and commerce ministries, the military, the propaganda department and the Chinese embassy in the United States.
While Xi did not provide details, the statement cited him as mentioning the importance of the Belt and Road, and other key diplomatic platforms like his “community of common destiny,” a lofty concept meant to guide China’s relations with the world.
This proposes a “new style” of international relations is proposed that is “win-win” and of “mutual benefit” for all, but many Western nations remain critical of China’s behavior over issues such as the contested waters of the South China Sea.
Xi added that China must strengthen its relations with developing nations, who he described as natural allies, but also learn from all other nations.
He made no direct mention of issues like the trade dispute between China and the United States, North Korea, or self-ruled Taiwan, claimed by Beijing as its own and considered China’s most sensitive territorial and diplomatic issue.