Ireland, Britain grind slowly back to normal following snowstorms

A police officer stands guard at the scene of extensive damage done by looters to a Lidl supermarket at Tallaght near Dublin. (Reuters)
Updated 03 March 2018
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Ireland, Britain grind slowly back to normal following snowstorms

DUBLIN/LONDON: Airports reopened and public transport began to grind back into service on Saturday after the worst snowstorms in nearly 30 years caused two days of major disruption in Britain and shut most of Ireland.
A blast of Siberian cold dubbed “the Beast from the East” combined with Storm Emma’s arrival from the south to ground planes, shut schools and in Ireland, knock out the entire public transport network with weather rarely seen in either country.
Flood warnings were issued on Saturday due to the melting snow, which in Scotland had led to snow drifts up to 10 feet (three meters) deep, according to ScotRail. While Ireland’s most severe weather warning was lifted, the government urged caution.
“Driving conditions remain treacherous due to ice and snow on the ground. We’re working hard to reopen roads and resume public transport. Please continue to take extreme care,” Prime Minister Leo Varadkar warned the public on Twitter.
Ireland’s main airports reopened, although over 50 flights in Dublin, mainly operated by Ryanair and IAG’s Aer Lingus, had already been canceled before snow and ice teams worked through the night to clear the airfield.
Eight men aged between 24 and 47 were due in court in Dublin on burglary charges after police said they caused substantial damage to a supermarket operated by German discount store Lidl late on Friday.
Several Irish media outlets reported that the supermarket had been looted. State broadcaster RTE showed video footage from social media of a mechanical digger pulling down part of the wall in the blizzard. Reuters was unable to verify the video.
Public transport across Ireland was due to reopen with a limited service from 1200 GMT, while train operators were running half a schedule in Scotland, which initially bore the brunt of the Siberian cold front.
According to forecasters, Scotland was expected to see more snow on Saturday while they warned that flooding and icy roads could disrupt travel across the rest of Britain.
Major roads in northern England and the south west have been badly hit by snow, trapping passengers in their vehicles for hours on end, while some trains have been stranded on tracks with hundreds of people on board.
One photograph that circulated widely on social media showed a man asleep in a carriage rack of a stationary train.
As temperatures started to recover, the country’s biggest airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, appeared to be operating a normal service while Manchester and Edinburgh reported fewer cancelations and delays to flights.


India holds ‘Super Tuesday’ vote

Indian National Congress party president Rahul Gandhi (C) gestures after laying a wreath to pay tribute on the 100th anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre at the Jallianwala Bagh martyrs memorial in Amritsar on April 13, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 2 min 33 sec ago
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India holds ‘Super Tuesday’ vote

  • Rahul Gandhi is standing in Wayanad in Kerala state, taking a risk as south India is considered a stronghold of regional parties
  • This election is seen as a referendum on his five-year rule — which has seen impressive economic growth but not the jobs that the BJP promised

AHMEDABAD, India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be among tens of millions of people to cast ballots as India holds a ‘Super Tuesday’ of voting in its marathon election.
The 117 seats to be decided will be the biggest number of any of the seven rounds of the election being held over six weeks.
Some 190 million voters in 15 states will be eligible to take part, and candidates on the ballot will include Modi’s arch-rival Rahul Gandhi, head of the opposition Congress party.
Modi, leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, will vote in his home state of Gujarat. He ruled the western state for over a decade before leading the party to national power in a 2014 landslide.
This election is seen as a referendum on his five-year rule — which has seen impressive economic growth but not the jobs that the BJP promised.
Gujarat sends 26 lawmakers to the Indian parliament and the right-wing BJP won all of those seats in 2014.
Modi will vote in the constituency where his close associate Amit Shah, the BJP president and key powerbroker, is contesting his maiden election.
Gandhi is standing in Wayanad in Kerala state, taking a risk as south India is considered a stronghold of regional parties.
The opposition party leader says contesting Wayanad is a sign of his commitment to southern India. His opponents say it shows he fears defeat in his traditional seat in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
Under Indian election law, candidates can contest two seats, though they can only keep one if they win both. Gandhi is also on the ballot for Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

Turnout was robust in the first two rounds of voting, on April 11 and 18, with around 70 percent of eligible voters taking part.
Heavy security has been put in place for voting, though violence has still been reported, with Maoist rebels carrying out bomb and shooting attacks.
Authorities have also bolstered security in the restive Kashmir valley ahead of voting on Tuesday in the region considered a hotbed of anti-Indian sentiment.
Election results are to be released on May 23 and analysts say Modi is not expected to see a repeat of the BJP’s 2014 performance, when they won 282 seats.
Modi has capitalized on nationalist fervor that followed India’s air strikes on Pakistan in February in a dispute over Kashmir.
India accused its neighbor of harboring a militant group that claimed a deadly suicide bombing in Kashmir.
The fractured opposition, led by Congress, has sought to attack the government over employment, the economy and a debt crisis for Indian farmers.