Thousands of Australian homes without power after cyclone hits

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A house is surrounded by flood waters in the town of Ingham, located in North Queensland, Australia, in this March 11, 2018 photo. (REUTERS)
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Houses can be seen surrounded by flood waters in the town of Ingham, located in North Queensland, Australia, in this March 11, 2018 photo. (REUTERS)
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Fallen trees roll down a street during a storm brought by Cyclone Marcus in Darwin, Australia, on March 17, 2018 in this still image taken from social media video. (REUTERS)
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A tree that was uprooted due to winds from Tropical Cyclone Marcus lies on a building in the Northen Territory capital city of Darwin in Australia, on March 17, 2018. (REUTERS)
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Trees fall during a storm brought by Cyclone Marcus in Darwin, Australia, March 17, 2018 in this still image taken from social media video. Brodie McGee/via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT.NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
Updated 18 March 2018
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Thousands of Australian homes without power after cyclone hits

SYDNEY: About 25,000 homes were without power on Sunday in Australia’s northern city of Darwin after a tropical cyclone felled trees, canceled flights, closed schools and delayed shipping.
No deaths were reported.
Residents of the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory have been warned to boil their water as a precaution after Tropical Cyclone Marcus lashed the city with 130 kph (80 mph) winds on Saturday.
The Northern Territory Government said that schools would remain closed on Monday and asked non-essential businesses also to stay shut.
Flights resumed on Sunday. Commercial shipping was back to normal with live cattle export ships and chemical-laden tankers able to return to port after being forced to ride out the storm at sea.
The cyclone churned out to sea on Saturday evening where it gathered strength before hitting the northern coast on Sunday morning, this time in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Pieter Claassen told Reuters that Marcus was expected to move into the Indian Ocean on Monday where it is forecast to grow into a severe Category 3 storm with wind speeds ranging from 165 kph (102 mph) to 224 kph (139 mph).
No threat is expected to the iron ore exporting hub of Port Hedland.


Macron fires bodyguard filmed beating protester; critics say too late

Updated 11 min 45 sec ago
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Macron fires bodyguard filmed beating protester; critics say too late

  • Alexandre Benalla, who as Macron’s top bodyguard has long been a fixture by his side, was taken into custody for police questioning over the incident, which took place when Benalla appeared at May Day protests in a riot helmet and police tags.
  • Lawmakers have launched a parliamentary inquiry into the incident itself, the lenient initial punishment and the failure of the authorities to report Benalla promptly to the judiciary.

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron fired the head of his personal security detail on Friday but faced criticism for failing to act sooner, after a video was released showing the man posing as a police officer and beating a protester while off duty in May.
Alexandre Benalla, who as Macron’s top bodyguard has long been a fixture by his side, was taken into custody for police questioning over the incident, which took place when Benalla appeared at May Day protests in a riot helmet and police tags.
He had initially been suspended for just 15 days and allowed to return to work. Just days ago he was seen in public helping to organize security for celebrations for the return of France’s World Cup champion soccer team.
Lawmakers have launched a parliamentary inquiry into the incident itself, the lenient initial punishment and the failure of the authorities to report Benalla promptly to the judiciary.
In the footage, which was released on Wednesday by Le Monde newspaper, Benalla can be seen dragging a woman away from a protest and later beating a male demonstrator. On Friday, French media released a second video which showed Benalla also manhandling the woman.
He had been given permission by the president’s office to attend the protests as an observer of the security operation, but had no authorization to take part in police work.
The president’s office brushed off accusations that it had responded only because the nearly three-month-old videos had become public. It said the decision had now been taken to fire Benalla because the bodyguard had improperly obtained a document while trying to make his case over the accusations.
“New facts that could constitute a misdemeanour by Alexandre Benalla were brought to the president’s attention,” an official at the presidential palace told Reuters. “As a result ... the presidency has decided to start Alexandre Benalla’s dismissal procedure.”
Critics of Macron called the president’s delayed response a characteristic sign that he is out of touch. It follows controversies over government spending on official crockery, a swimming pool at a presidential retreat and cutting remarks by the president about the costs of welfare.
After hours of debate in the lower house on Thursday, lawmakers agreed to launch a parliamentary inquiry.
“Why did he protect this person? Does he head up a parallel police force? Refusing to answer makes (Macron) complicit in these acts of violence,” Eric Ciotti, a senior member of the conservative Republicans party, said on Twitter.