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Ireland on red alert as ‘extraordinary’ storm approaches

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Dublin and Cork airports have closed and much of Ireland’s infrastructure has ground to a halt as it hunkers down for what the Irish premier warns is “an extraordinary weather event”.

The highest red alert is in place and Taoiseach Leo Varakar has told people to “be back in their homes no later than 4pm” as the storm approaches.

“If you are out, please make sure you get home before then,” tweeted Mr Varadkar.

He said: “The risk to life and limb presented by severe weather conditions should not be underestimated.”

The Irish military is also on standby after Mr Varadakar “instructed all of the machinery of the state to work together to keep people safe”.

Sixty 4×4 vehicles and over 120 personnel have been sent out in the last 24 hours to help keep essential services going, said Ireland’s defence minister.

Dublin Airport has effectively been closed. Pic: DublinAirport
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Dublin Airport has closed and is unlikely to open until Saturday. Pic: DublinAirport

The red alert – from Ireland’s weather service – warns of persistent blizzards this evening, coupled with sub-zero temperatures and a fresh dump of snow.

It is set to be the country’s worst snow since 1982.

People walk past a frozen statue in Dublin
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People walk past a frozen statue in Dublin

All schools and colleges have also closed and the country is now largely cut off from air travel as Storm Emma blows in from the Atlantic.

Dublin and Cork airports have shut until at least tomorrow, and possibly Saturday.

Aer Lingus and Ryanair both suspended flights in and out of Dublin, with other airlines following suit from around 3pm on Thursday.

The airport, Europe’s 14th busiest, said: “We will have snow crews working today and tomorrow to continue to clear the runway, taxiways, aircraft parking stands and apron areas for our airline customers’ planned resumption of services on Saturday morning.”

Cork airport, in the southwest, also pulled the plug on flights, tweeting: “@CorkAirport is closed and normal operations are not expected to resume until Saturday morning next.”

Irish Rail said no services were expected to run on Friday and buses in Dublin have also stopped until Saturday.

  1. Snow covered gondolas near St. Mark's square in Venice lagoon
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    Snow covered gondolas near St Mark’s Square in Venice’s lagoon
  2. Snow covered gondola's on Canal Grande in Venice lagoon
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    More gondolas in Venice’s Grand Canal
  3. The Louvre Pyramid after overnight snowfall in Paris
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    The Louvre Pyramid after overnight snowfall in Paris
  4. Vineyards in Meounes-les-Montrieux, southern France
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    Vineyards in Meounes-les-Montrieux, southern France
  5. A woman removes the snow from her car in Saint-Chaffrey, France
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    A woman removes the snow from her car in Saint-Chaffrey, France
  6. A tramway blocked by snow in Montpellier, southern France
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    A tramway blocked by snow in Montpellier, southern France
  7. The Place de la Comedy in Montpellier in the south of France
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    The Place de la Comedy in Montpellier in southwest France
  8. Passengers walk out a TGV train blocked by snow in Montpellier in the south of France
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    Passengers walk out a TGV train blocked by snow in Montpellier
  9. A snow-covered sidewalk in front of Sforzesco Castle in Milan
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    A snow-covered pavement in front of Sforzesco Castle in Milan, Italy
  10. A dog jumps off a wooden fence in Sempione garden after snowfall in Milan, Italy
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    A dog jumps over a wooden fence in Sempione garden after snowfall in Milan
  11. A snow plough clears the road in Soerum, north of Oslo, Norway
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    A snow plough clears the road in Soerum, north of Oslo, Norway
  12. A snow-covered road in northern Germany.
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    A snow-covered road in northern Germany
  13. The snow-covered Sechselaeutenplatz square in Zurich, Switzerland
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    Sechselaeutenplatz square in Zurich, Switzerland
  14. Traffic stacks up on the snow-covered A3 motorway near Zurich, Switzerland
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    Traffic stacks up on the A3 motorway near Zurich, Switzerland
  15. A mailwoman of Swiss mail operator Schweizerische Post rides her electro-powered trike on a snow-covered street in Zurich, Switzerland
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    A postwoman working for Swiss mail operator Schweizerische Post rides her electric-powered tricycle in Zurich, Switzerland
  16. A woman walks past snow covered benches in a park in Lausanne, Switzerland
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    A woman walks past park benches in Lausanne, Switzerland
  17. A snow plough removes snow next to Air France aircraft during a temporary closure at Cointrin airport in Geneva, Switzerland
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    A snow plough clears a taxiway next to an Air France aircraft during a temporary closure of Cointrin airport in Geneva, Switzerland

Sky’s Darren McCaffrey tweeted pictures of the centre of the capital on Thursday afternoon, showing it virtually deserted as people heeded the warning to stay indoors.

The red alert comes as parts of the UK face their own severe weather warning, with Storm Emma combining with the freezing Siberian blast that has swept across much of Europe.



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La Palma: Residents in limbo as pressure in the Cumbre Vieja volcano drops – but eruption threat remains | World News

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Thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes to escape rivers of lava cascading from La Palma’s erupting volcano.

But 160 of them will now be allowed to return, after local authorities said their houses were no longer in the path of the molten streams moving down the side of the Cumbre Vieja volcano range.

The rest of the evacuees will have to wait, including Eliza Gonzales.

Eliza Gonzales with her dog, Luna
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Eliza Gonzales has been separated from her dog Luna

I met her at an improvised animal sanctuary on the island. She had come to see her dog Luna. They’ve been separated for days.

Ms Gonzales was told she had to leave Luna behind when she fled her home.

Thankfully the rescue centre called to tell her they had saved Luna. But the reunion is bittersweet. Ms Gonzales is staying in temporary accommodation and no dogs are allowed.

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What’s next for La Palma?

“It’s very bad,” she says.

Luna will be fostered while Ms Gonzales waits to go back home.

“I’m happy there are good people that offered their houses for the dogs to stay in and be calm.”

There are several dogs at the sanctuary, waiting for their owners to come for them. They all bark whenever someone new arrives.

But the centre can only care for abandoned animals. Those who were badly injured during the eruption have to be taken for specialist care.

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Volcano eruptions ‘could last for months’

They rescued a goat whose udders were severely burnt and took it to the vet, hoping it can recover from its wounds.

Scientists say the pressure inside the volcano has decreased, but that doesn’t mean the eruptions are about to stop.

The experts can’t predict when the explosions of lava will end, they think it could last till December.

With each day that passes, people are becoming more desperate.

Volcanic dust is damaging the 'plátano' skin leaving farmers including Mr de Paz Perez fearing they won't be able to sell their produce to supermarkets.
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Volcanic dust is damaging plátano skins, leaving farmers including Mr de Paz Perez fearing they won’t be able to sell their produce

Ernesto de Paz Perez is a banana farmer. The plant is known as “plátano” here, they are slightly smaller than bananas from Latin America.

Mr de Paz Perez, 75, started working on a plátano farm when he was 14.

La Palma depends on the fruit for around half of its economic output.

Banana farmer Ernesto de Paz Perez fears there will be 'many losses' due to the damage caused by the eruption.
Image:
Banana farmer Ernesto de Paz Perez fears there will be ‘many losses’ due to the damage

But the volcanic dust is damaging the fruit’s skin and farmers fear they won’t be able to sell their produce to supermarkets.

The eruption has also cut off the water supply to Mr de Paz Perez’s plants.

If it [the eruption] keeps going for a long time it will cause a lot of damage. If the plátano fields are not watered we will lose them. There will be many losses,” he said.

Elsewhere on the island they’re trying to get back to normal. The airport is open after closing because of an ash cloud, but flights haven’t immediately resumed.

The whole of La Palma just wants to repair and return to how their lives were before the volcano erupted, but when that will be, no one knows.

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Lewis Hamilton hails ‘magical moment’ as he wins 100th Formula One race | UK News

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Lewis Hamilton has spoken of the “magical moment” of winning his 100th Formula One race at Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix.

Hamilton, 36, used his driving and overtaking skills, and his strategic thinking in the rain, to fight back from seventh place on the first lap to a landmark victory.

He is the first driver to reach 100 victories.

It was his fifth win of the season and his first since the British Grand Prix in July.

“It’s taken a long time to get to 100 and at times, I wasn’t sure it would come,” the British driver said.

“It is a magical moment. I could only have dreamed of still being here, to have this opportunity to win these races, and to drive with such phenomenal talents this late on in my career.”

“I am so proud of everything we have done with Mercedes, on and off the track, and this is a special moment for everyone that has been part of it.

“My dad called me last night and he has always been that one to reassure me and to continue to support me. I feel incredibly grateful for the amazing support that I have had.”

The victory takes Hamilton two points clear of Max Verstappen in the title race with seven rounds to go.

It also denied Lando Norris of his first victory following a thrilling finale.

Norris, 21, appeared on course to keep Hamilton at bay, and become the youngest British Formula One winner.

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Vladimir Putin pictured fishing and hiking on Siberian forest holiday | World News

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The Kremlin has released pictures showing Russian President Vladimir Putin on a fishing and hiking holiday in Siberia.

Mr Putin, 68, was joined by defence minister Sergei Shoigu, his regular holiday companion, for the short break earlier this month.

Mr Putin visited the Primorye and the Amur Region of the Russian Far East earlier this month Pic: AP
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Mr Putin visited the Primorye and the Amur Region of the Russian Far East earlier this month. Pic: AP

The Russian premier stopped off for a few days after a working trip to the Primorye and the Amur Region of Russia‘s Far East.

He appeared relaxed while walking through meadows against a dramatic mountain backdrop, casually dressed in a khaki-coloured hat and jacket.

The Kremlin released the images of Mr Putin on Sunday, 26 September Pic: AP
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Mr Putin appeared relaxed while walking through meadows against a dramatic mountain backdrop. Pic: AP
President Putin leans against a tree in a forest on a short break earlier this month Pic: AP
Image:
President Putin leans against a tree in a forest on a short break earlier this month Pic: AP

He took a moment to lean against a tree while staring into the distance in another shot.

And he couldn’t disguise his delight as he smiled proudly while holding aloft a fish he caught in a nearby lake.

Video footage, released alongside the pictures by the Kremlin on Sunday, also showed Mr Putin driving an amphibious vehicle through a river in the region.

Days after the break, the Russian leader was forced to spend a “few days” in isolation after dozens of people in his inner circle caught COVID-19.

Mr Putin was joined on the fishing trip by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu Pic: AP
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Mr Putin was joined on the fishing trip by defence minister Sergei Shoigu. Pic: AP

The outbreak prompted Mr Putin to cancel his trip to Tajikistan for a security summit.

He has had two shots of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and is feeling healthy, the Kremlin said.

The Russian leader is known for his love of the great outdoors and has often been pictured bare-chested in an apparent bid to cultivate his macho image.

Mr Putin on a fishing trip during a mini break in the Siberian Tyva region in August 2017 Pic: AP
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Mr Putin on a fishing trip during a mini break in the Siberian Tyva region in August 2017. Pic: AP

He was most famously pictured shirtless atop a horse on a mountain holiday in southern Siberia’s Tuva region in 2009 where he paraded his bare chest and his fishing prowess.

Mr Putin later stripped down to the waist before plunging into an icy lake as part of evens to mark Orthodox Epiphany in January 2018.

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