english news

Hurricane Nicole: Rare November tropical storm hits land in Florida

rare november storm

Hurricane Nicole hit Florida on Thursday with 70mph (110kph) winds but has been downgraded to a tropical storm after it slowed on making landfall. States of emergency remain and evacuation orders are in place, with heavy rain and storm surges forecast. Nicole has already lashed Grand Bahama Island as a huge category one hurricane, with the scale of the devastation not immediately clear. Storms of this size so late in the year are extremely rare. After Florida, Nicole is set to hit Georgia and South Carolina. It could possibly even hit Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York later in the week. November hurricanes are rare in Florida. Since record-keeping began in 1853, the sunshine state has been hit by only two: in 1935 and 1985.

Nicole comes just weeks after Hurricane Ian hit Florida, leaving more than 100 people dead. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) upgraded Nicole on Wednesday evening from a tropical storm, then downgraded it again an hour after it made landfall and slowed. A tropical storm warning is in place for the mid-section of Florida’s eastern coast which includes former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in West Palm Beach, with the NHC warning of “strong winds, dangerous storm surge and waves, and heavy rains”. Forty-five of the state’s 67 counties are under a state of emergency and four counties are under mandatory evacuation orders. More than 100,000 customers have been left without power by the storm.(BBC)…[+]

 

US elections: Biden hails better-than-expected midterms results

biden war

US President Joe Biden has expressed relief after Democrats fended off major Republican gains in the midterms. Republicans are inching towards control of the House of Representatives, but Mr Biden noted that a “giant red wave” did not materialise on Tuesday night. Either party could still win the Senate, which hinges on three races that are too close to call. The party in power, currently the Democrats, usually suffers losses in a president’s first midterm elections. Republican strategists had been hopeful of sweeping victories, given that inflation is at a 40-year-high and Mr Biden’s approval ratings are relatively low. But exit poll data suggests voters may have punished Republicans for their efforts to restrict access to abortion. Speaking at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Biden said the results so far had made him breathe a “sigh of relief”. It was a good day, I think, for democracy,” he said. He added that his optimism had been vindicated, and ribbed journalists who had predicted heavy Democratic losses. Buoyed by the better-than-expected night, Mr Biden said he plans to stand for re-election in 2024. “Our intention is to run again, that’s been our intention,” Mr Biden, who turns 80 this month, told reporters.(BBC)…[+]

Hurricane Nicole: Rare November tropical storm hits land in Florida

us estimates

Hurricane Nicole hit Florida on Thursday with 70mph (110kph) winds but has been downgraded to a tropical storm after it slowed on making landfall. States of emergency remain and evacuation orders are in place, with heavy rain and storm surges forecast. Nicole has already lashed Grand Bahama Island as a huge category one hurricane, with the scale of the devastation not immediately clear. Storms of this size so late in the year are extremely rare. After Florida, Nicole is set to hit Georgia and South Carolina. It could possibly even hit Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York later in the week. November hurricanes are rare in Florida. Since record-keeping began in 1853, the sunshine state has been hit by only two: in 1935 and 1985. Nicole comes just weeks after Hurricane Ian hit Florida, leaving more than 100 people dead.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) upgraded Nicole on Wednesday evening from a tropical storm, then downgraded it again an hour after it made landfall and slowed. A tropical storm warning is in place for the mid-section of Florida’s eastern coast which includes former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in West Palm Beach, with the NHC warning of “strong winds, dangerous storm surge and waves, and heavy rains”.  Forty-five of the state’s 67 counties are under a state of emergency and four counties are under mandatory evacuation orders. More than 100,000 customers have been left without power by the storm.(BBC)…[+]

Ukraine war: US estimates 200,000 military casualties on all sides

us estimates

The most senior US general estimates that around 100,000 Russian and 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed or injured in the war in Ukraine. Gen Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, also suggested that around 40,000 civilians had died after being caught up in the conflict. The estimates are the highest offered yet by a Western official. He also said that signs Kyiv was willing to re-enter talks with Moscow offered “a window” for negotiations. In recent days, Ukraine has signalled a willingness to hold some discussions with Moscow, after President Volodymyr Zelensky dropped a demand that his opposite number, Vladimir Putin, must be removed from power before negotiations could resume.

But speaking in New York, Gen Milley added that for any talks to be successful, both Russia and Ukraine would have to reach a “mutual recognition” that a wartime victory “is maybe not achievable through military means, and therefore you need to turn to other means”. The top general – who serves as President Joe Biden’s most senior military adviser – said the scale of the casualties could convince both Moscow and Kyiv of the need to negotiate over the coming winter months, when fighting may slow due to freezing conditions.(BBC)…[+]

Three leap from migrant rescue boat held in Italy

three lap

Three people have leapt from a migrant rescue boat where they were being held after being refused permission to disembark in Italy, the BBC has been told. The three were among about 250 migrants refused permission to disembark after officials deemed them “healthy”. They were rescued by police, but it is unclear what will happen to them next. Their bid to reach the shore came as Rome repeated its vow to halt migrant boats crossing the Mediterranean. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni used her maiden speech to MPs in late October to highlight the issue, saying she wanted to “stop the people traffickers from having the choice of deciding who enters Italy”. Far-right infrastructure minister Matteo Salvini told Italian radio on Monday it was not just people who were being trafficked in increasingly dangerous “organised trips”, but weapons and drugs too. Italy is one of the main entry points into Europe. Since the start of the year, 85,000 migrants have arrived on boats, according to the UN. Migrants set sail in small, overcrowded boats from North Africa, often get into distress and are rescued by charity vessels.(BBC)…[+]

Alaa Abdel Fattah: British-Egyptian activist’s family pin hopes on PM

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The sister of jailed British-Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah says she “hopes and trusts” that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will be able to secure his release while visiting Egypt for COP27. Speaking from Sharm el-Sheikh, where the climate summit is taking place, Sanaa Seif told the BBC she was sure he “can do it if it is really a priority”. Abdel Fattah, 40, has been on hunger strike for more than six months. His family has said he has now stopped drinking water and may die within days. A spokesman for Mr Sunak in Downing Street said the prime minister had stressed his “deep concern” over the case during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. “The prime minister said he hoped to see this resolved as soon as possible and would continue to press for progress,” said the spokesman. Ahead of the trip, Mr Sunak told Abdel Fattah’s family in a letter that his government was “deeply committed to doing everything it can” to secure his release.(BBC)…[+]

Ukraine war: West warned against complacency on air defence support

west urged

Up to now, neither Russia nor Ukraine has been able to gain control of Ukraine’s skies, largely because their pilots don’t want to risk getting shot down by the other side’s air defence systems. While Russia’s air force far outweighs Ukraine’s, both in size and sophistication, Russia has resorted to firing long-range ballistic and cruise missiles, recently augmented by cheap, mass-produced Iranian Shahed-136 explosive-laden drones. Ukraine has had some success in shooting many of these down, but those that do get through have severely damaged Ukraine’s power and water infrastructure, just as winter is setting in. And now a new report is warning that Ukraine is in danger of running out of the weapons it needs to stave off the massive Russian air attacks. The report, from London-based think tank the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi), warns that unless Western nations maintain and step up their supply of air defences to Ukraine. then Russia is likely to use the same bombing techniques it used in Syria, to devastating effect.(BBC)…[+]

Peru: ‘Conditions deteriorating’ on detained tourist boat

dete

Around 70 tourists on a river boat in Peru have been detained by an indigenous group as part of a protest against a recent oil spill. The UK Foreign Office says a “very small number” of British nationals – believed to be three – are on the boat. Peruvian, Swiss, American, Spanish and French nationals are also believed to be on board. One British passenger, Charlotte Wiltshire, said the group was starting to run out of food and water. “Conditions are starting to deteriorate,” she said in a message sent to the BBC. She has asked for an “intervention to get us out of here”, saying there were pregnant, diabetic, elderly and sick people on the boat. The tourists are not thought to have been harmed. They have been held since Thursday morning. Activists from the Cuninico community released a statement earlier in the week saying that from midnight on 1 November, no boats or vessels would be able to pass. “We demand that the government talks to the Cuninico community or face consequences – the ultimate responsibility lies with the President of the Republic [Pedro del Castillo]”, the statement read. Speaking to a local TV station, Prime Minister Anibal Torres appeared to blame the Cuninico community itself for cutting the pipeline.(BBC)…[+]

Berlin climate protesters condemned after death of cyclist

climate change

The death of a cyclist in Berlin has prompted leaders of Germany’s Green party to accuse climate change protesters of endangering the lives of others. The woman was run over and trapped under a concrete mixer lorry on Monday. The fire service says a specialist rescue vehicle was delayed by traffic because of a climate protest held by a group called “Last Generation”. News of the 44-year-old woman’s death emerged on Friday. There was a robust response from Robert Habeck, vice-chancellor and a senior figure in the Greens, who are part of the governing coalition government. “Anyone who risks the health and life of others loses all legitimacy and also harms the climate movement itself,” he said. “Some protests by some groups are now doing just that.” Deputy government spokesman Wolfgang Büchner did not blame the protesters for the woman’s death, but stressed their actions should not break the law.(BBC)…[+]

Sanna Marin: Partying Finnish PM cleared of neglecting duties

partying

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has been cleared of misconduct after video in August showed her partying. The 36-year-old defended herself after being seen dancing with friends and celebrities in the leaked footage. Dozens of complaints are understood to have been filed, alleging Ms Marin’s behaviour undermined Finland’s “reputation and security”. But Chancellor of Justice Tuomas Poysti concluded that Ms Marin had not neglected her duties as prime minister. There was “no reason to suspect the prime minister of unlawful conduct in the performance of her duties or of neglect of her official duties”, he said after an official inquiry. Ms Marin took a drug test “to clear up any doubts”, after some suggested comments heard on the video referred to narcotics. The test came back negative. At the time, the prime minister said that the video had been filmed on “private premises” and that she had spent “an evening with friends”. When asked about the video, she told reporters: “I am human. And I too sometimes long for joy, light and fun amidst these dark clouds.”(BBC)…[+]