At least 9 dead as heavy rain hits France, Italy, Greece

A man walks past a car moved by the force of flood water after storms in Kineta village, about 68 kilometers west of Athens. (AP Photo)
Updated 26 November 2019

At least 9 dead as heavy rain hits France, Italy, Greece

  • The administration for France’s Var region said four people died, including a couple in their 70s from the perfume capital of Grasse whose car got submerged
  • The worst flooding in Greece occurred at the seaside resort of Kineta, where mudslides came from a nearby forest fire-damaged hillside

PARIS: At least nine people have died after heavy rain slammed the Riviera coasts of France and Italy, trapping travelers in their cars, and caused flooding in parts of Greece.
Some roads remained closed Monday on the French Riviera, and rivers were still rising in Italy after the weekend flooding.
The administration for France’s Var region said four people died, including a couple in their 70s from the perfume capital of Grasse whose car got submerged. Another died after a French rescue boat sank in the Mediterranean and another was found dead in a car.
In Greece, the bodies of the two men believed to be tourists were recovered late Sunday and early Monday near the port of Antirio, 250 kilometers (155 miles) west of Athens after a sailboat they were using was caught in the severe weather.
Another two women died when storms hit the country’s eastern Aegean Sea islands late Monday, state ERT TV said. One died when her basement room on Rhodes flooded, while the other drowned on the island of Kos when she went for a swim in stormy seas.
And in northern Italy, a woman was found dead after the Bomida river swept away her car. Rescuers are also searching for possible victims after a landslide caused the collapse of a stretch of an elevated highway near the flooded city of Savona.
Firefighter commander Emanuele Gizzi told SKY TG24 Monday that “we still don’t have the certainty that there is absolutely no one” missing.
Drivers who witnessed the collapse were able to stop in time. There were no reports of witnesses seeing vehicles fall with the roadway, but the search continued as a precaution.
The collapse of the raised highway, just 15 months after a deadly bridge collapse in Genoa, has raised concerns anew about the safety of Italy’s highways, a large part of which are viaducts traversing mountainous terrain.
Meanwhile, the level of the Ticino River in the Lombard city of Pavia was continuing to rise, flooding streets by about 15 centimeters and forcing some residents to evacuate.
In France, rivers started receding slowly but many families who evacuated still couldn’t return home. Authorities worked to restore electricity and clear roads of fallen trees and mud.
In Greece, hundreds of homes were flooded following an overnight storm that affected areas west of Athens.
Torrential rain and mudslides caused the closure of the highway linking the Greek capital to the western port city of Patras.
The worst flooding occurred at the seaside resort of Kineta, where mudslides came from a nearby forest fire-damaged hillside. Several dozen people trapped in their cars and in flooded homes were rescued by the Fire Service.


Delta fined $50,000 for discriminating against Muslim passengers

Updated 25 January 2020

Delta fined $50,000 for discriminating against Muslim passengers

  • The flight attendant said she saw Mr.X texting on his cell phone using the word “Allah” several times
  • The captain refused to let the two passengers re-board the plane

WASHINGTON: Delta Air Lines was Friday fined $50,000 by the US Department of Transportation to settle allegations it discriminated against three Muslim passengers who were ordered off their planes.
In its consent order, the department said it found Delta “engaged in discriminatory conduct” and violated anti-discrimination laws when it removed the three passengers.
In one incident on July 26, 2016, a Muslim couple were removed from Delta Flight 229 at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris after a passenger told a flight attendant their behavior made her “very uncomfortable and nervous.”
“Mrs X” was wearing a head scarf and the passenger said “Mr X” had inserted something into his watch.
The flight attendant said she saw Mr.X texting on his cell phone using the word “Allah” several times.
The captain then spoke with Delta’s corporate security, who said Mr.and Mrs.X were US citizens returning home and there were “no red flags.”
However the captain refused to let them re-board the plane.
The Department of Transportation said the captain had failed to follow Delta’s security protocol and it appeared that “but for Mr.and Mrs.X’s perceived religion, Delta would not have removed or denied them reboarding” of their flight.
The second incident covered in the order involved another Muslim passenger who boarded Flight 49 at Amsterdam heading for New York on July 31, 2016.
Other passengers and flight attendants complained about him but the first officer saw nothing unusual about him and Delta security also said “Mr A“’s record had “no red flags.”
The captain prepared the plane for departure but then returned to the gate and had Mr.A removed and his seat searched.
The Transportation Department said the captain had not followed Delta’s security protocol and the removal of Mr.A “after being cleared was discriminatory.”
Delta disagreed that it engaged in discriminatory conduct but “does not dispute that each of these two incidents could have been handled differently,” the order said.
The government said the fine “establishes a strong deterrent against future similar unlawful practices by Delta and other carriers.”
Following the July 2016 incidents, Delta said it had reviewed and enhanced its procedure to investigate suspicious activity “to make it more collaborative and objective.”