Prince William and wife Kate leave Pakistan, day after aborted flight

1 / 5
Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, depart from Lahore airport, Pakistan October 18, 2019. (Reuters)
2 / 5
Britain’s Duke and Duchess of Cambridge play with golden labrador puppies as they visit an Army Canine Centre in Islamabad, Pakistan October 18, 2019. (Reuters)
3 / 5
Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge smile as they visit an Army Canine Centre, where Britain provides support to a programme that trains dogs to identify explosive devices, in Islamabad, Pakistan October 18, 2019. (Reuters)
4 / 5
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, walk with golden labrador puppies Salto and Sky as they visit an Army Canine Centre, where Britain provides support to a programme that trains dogs to identify explosive devices, in Islamabad, Pakistan October 18, 2019. (Reuters)
5 / 5
Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, depart from Lahore airport, Pakistan October 18, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 18 October 2019

Prince William and wife Kate leave Pakistan, day after aborted flight

  • A planned trip to the famed Khyber Pass — one of the two major border crossings in to Afghanistan — was called off after the flight drama
  • Britain’s Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have spent their tour promoting causes such as girls’ education and conservation

ISLAMABAD: Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate left Pakistan on Friday after visiting an army dog training school, a day after a severe thunderstorm forced them to change their schedule and stay the night in Lahore.
A planned visit to a Pakistani military post in the Khyber region on Friday morning was cancelled because of the change in their schedule, but the prince said learning about the security situation in the country was an objective of the visit.
"What happens here in Pakistan directly correlates to what happens on the streets of the UK," William told British media after he and Kate saw dogs that are trained to sniff out explosives.
"We are involved with the Pakistanis for a very good reason, it will actually keep people safe back in the UK."
An RAF Voyager carrying the royals aborted landings in Islamabad and nearby Rawalpindi on Thursday because of severe turbulence during the thunderstorm.
The couple stayed at Lahore's Pearl Continental Hotel on Thursday evening, along with journalists, their staff and foreign ministry officials. The couple told reporters after returning to Lahore that they were "fine".
William and Kate have also highlighted education and the impact of climate change during their stay in Pakistan.
Pakistan's government hopes the couple's four-day visit will help boost the country's image as a tourist and business destination, after decades of sectarian violence and political unrest.
On Friday, a global money-laundering watchdog gave Pakistan until February to improve its counter-terror financing operations in line with an internationally agreed action plan, or face action.
"In terms of Pakistan's positive international image, the visit has been an unmitigated success," said Rifat Hussain, analyst and a former professor at Quaid e Azam university in Islamabad, though he said there had been some complaints from Pakistanis about the huge security operation around the trip. 


Death toll in Australia bushfires rises to four

Updated 53 min 59 sec ago

Death toll in Australia bushfires rises to four

  • More than 100 blazes were burning on Thursday
  • Hundreds of houses have already been damaged or destroyed
BURRELL CREEK, Australia: The death toll from devastating bushfires in eastern Australia has risen to four after a man’s body was discovered in a scorched area of bushland, police said Thursday.

Three others have perished in bushfires in New South Wales, the state worst affected by a series of catastrophic fires that broke out along the eastern seaboard late last week.

Residents found the body — believed to be a 58-year-old man last seen on Friday — near the New South Wales town of Kempsey, one of several areas hit by the fires in recent days.

More than 100 blazes were burning on Thursday but a respite from tough conditions has seen the danger from many fires downgraded and residents returning to sift through the remains of their homes.

Hundreds of houses have already been damaged or destroyed and more than one million hectares (2.5 million acres) of land burnt in the blazes.

Challenging conditions were expected to flare again in Queensland and New South Wales at the weekend as the temperature rises and winds pick up, and many blazes are still proving difficult to contain.

In Burrell Creek, dozens of firefighters were preparing to battle an out-of-control bushfire that has so far engulfed 24,000 hectares from the coastal town of Old Bar inland to Hillville in northern New South Wales.

Native wildlife has also been badly hit by the bushfires, with conservationists estimating that hundreds of koalas have perished.

As many as 350 koalas died in a single nature reserve near Port Macquarie alone, raising fears for the future of the creature in the area.

Nick Boyle, of Taronga Conservation Society, said “our hearts are breaking” not only for the victims but also for the “defenseless wildlife” that had been killed by the state’s “earliest and worst” bushfire season.

“Pressures on the koala were already compounding,” he said, citing habitat loss and non-native predators. “And now this.”

Bushfire-prone Australia is experiencing a horrific start to its fire season, which scientists say is being exacerbated by climate change.

The Bureau of Meteorology says human-caused climate change is increasing the “frequency and severity” of dangerous bushfire conditions by raising temperatures, sapping moisture from the environment and causing an earlier and more extreme fire season.

The bushfires have created mounting pressure on the conservative government to curb fossil fuels and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Australia’s leaders, ever-conscious of the country’s economic reliance on mining exports, have been steadfastly ignoring those calls.