Firebomb Attack On UK Immigration Centre Motivated By Terrorist Ideology – Police

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The firebombing of a United Kingdom migrant processing centre last week was “motivated by a terrorist ideology”, counter-terrorism police said on Saturday.

“Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE)… have recovered evidence that indicates the attack at an immigration centre in Dover on Sunday, 30 October 2022, was motivated by a terrorist ideology,” the body said in a statement.

The evidence recovered — including from devices — suggested “there was an extreme right-wing motivation behind the attack,” it added.

Tim Jacques, senior national coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, added that while there were “strong indications that mental health was likely a factor”, he had concluded that the “suspect’s actions were primarily driven by an extremist ideology”.

These met the “threshold for a terrorist incident”, he said.

Homemade incendiary devices were thrown at the Western Jet Foil Border Force centre in Dover on Sunday, leaving two staff with minor injuries.

The facility in the busy port town in southeast England processes migrants who have crossed the Channel from northern Europe in small boats.

The attack was carried was out by a 66-year-old man who was later found dead.

“There is currently nothing to suggest the offender was working alongside anyone else and there is not believed to be any wider threat to the public,” the statement said.

The British government is currently grappling with how to deal with a record number of migrants crossing the Channel from northern Europe in small boats.

Since the beginning of the year, an unprecedented 38,000 people have made the perilous journey, the government’s home affairs select committee was told on October 26.

Britain’s Home Secretary Suella Braverman earlier this week caused outrage — and earned a rebuke from the new UN rights chief — for describing the arrivals as an “invasion”.

AFP

Firebomb Attack On UK Immigration Centre ‘motivated By Terrorist Ideology’

British immigration minister Robert Jenrick on Tuesday vowed “more radical” policies to counter illegal migration as record numbers make the treacherous crossing of the Channel in small boats. Jenrick accepted that conditions at the Manston migrant processing centre in Kent, southeast England, were “poor”, and that people had been sleeping on the floor on mats. “The problem is that thousands of people are crossing the Channel illegally every day,” he added. (Photo by Daniel LEAL / AFP)

 

 

The firebombing of a UK migrant processing centre last week was “motivated by a terrorist ideology”, counter-terrorism police said on Saturday.

“Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE)… have recovered evidence that indicates the attack at an immigration centre in Dover on Sunday, 30 October 2022, was motivated by a terrorist ideology,” the body said in a statement.

The evidence recovered — including from devices — suggested “there was an extreme right-wing motivation behind the attack,” it added.

Tim Jacques, senior national coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, added that while there were “strong indications that mental health was likely a factor”, he had concluded that the “suspect’s actions were primarily driven by an extremist ideology”.

These met the “threshold for a terrorist incident”, he said.

Homemade incendiary devices were thrown at the Western Jet Foil Border Force centre in Dover on Sunday, leaving two staff with minor injuries.

The facility in the busy port town in southeast England processes migrants who have crossed the Channel from northern Europe in small boats.

The attack was carried was out by a 66-year-old man who was later found dead.

“There is currently nothing to suggest the offender was working alongside anyone else and there is not believed to be any wider threat to the public,” the statement said.

The British government is currently grappling with how to deal with a record number of migrants crossing the Channel from northern Europe in small boats.

Since the beginning of the year, an unprecedented 38,000 people have made the perilous journey, the government’s home affairs select committee was told on October 26.

Britain’s Home Secretary Suella Braverman earlier this week caused outrage — and earned a rebuke from the new UN rights chief — for describing the arrivals as an “invasion”.

Europe May Face Gas Shortage Next Year – IEA

File photo of gas plant

 

Europe must act immediately to prevent a shortage of natural gas next year as Russia slashes deliveries in the wake of the Ukraine war, the International Energy Agency warned Thursday.

The region could lack 30 billion cubic metres that it needs “to fuel its economy and sufficiently refill storage sites during the summer of 2023, jeopardising its preparations for the winter of 2023-24,” the Paris-based agency said in a report.

The IEA said the shortfall would occur if Russia stops pipelines deliveries completely and China steps up its imports of liquefied natural gas, which Europe has relied upon to replace Russian supplies.

READ ALSO: Millions At Risk Of Hunger In South Sudan – UN

Russia drastically cut supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation against Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, but the region was able to fill storage sites for this upcoming winter.

Moscow delivered 60 billion cubic metres of gas to Europe this year, but the IEA said in a report that it is “highly unlikely” that Russia will provide the same amount in 2023 and could cease deliveries entirely.

Europe “needs to take immediate action” to avoid the risk of a shortage next year, said the agency, which advises developed countries on energy policy.

African Players In Europe: Partey Ends His Arsenal Goal Drought

Arsenal’s Ghanaian midfielder Thomas Partey (L) is challenged by Tottenham Hotspur’s South Korean striker Son Heung-Min during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 1, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

 

Ghana midfielder Thomas Partey scored his first Premier League goal since March for Arsenal, whose 3-1 derby win over Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend kept them top of the table.

In another clash between London clubs, retired Gabon forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bagged his maiden goal for new club Chelsea in a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace.

Usually prolific Mohamed Salah continues to struggle with Liverpool this season. The Egyptian failed to score in a 3-3 draw with Brighton — he has netted just two league goals in seven matches.

READ ALSOAs He Plots Liverpool Revival, Klopp Says Even Ronaldo Has Confidence Dips

Here, AFP Sport highlights African headline-makers in the major European leagues:

ENGLAND

THOMAS PARTEY (Arsenal)

He opened the scoring as the leaders enjoyed an impressive win against north London rivals Tottenham. Partey struck at the Emirates Stadium in the 20th minute with a superb first-time curler into the top corner from 25 yards. Mikel Arteta’s side went on to secure their seventh win from eight league games this season to retain a one point lead over Manchester City.

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Chelsea)

The Gabon striker scored his first goal for Chelsea following his move from Barcelona as the Blues won at Crystal Palace. Former Arsenal star Aubameyang had gone without a goal in his first two games since returning to England on transfer deadline day. But the 33-year-old ended his wait to get on the scoresheet in the 38th minute at Selhurst Park, spinning to fire home.

SPAIN

INAKI WILLIAMS (Athletic Bilbao)

Fresh from making his international debut for Ghana, Williams put up a barnstorming performance to help Bilbao romp to a 4-0 win over Almeria. Williams opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a glancing header from a cross provided by his brother Nico. He had another well-taken goal ruled out for a marginal offside, and then set up Nico for the third goal.

ITALY

ADEMOLA LOOKMAN (Atalanta)

Nigeria forward Lookman made sure that Atalanta stayed level on points with Serie A leaders Napoli with the only goal in a 1-0 win over Fiorentina. London-born Lookman netted his second goal of the campaign and his first since the opening weekend of the season when he tapped in the winner from Luis Muriel’s low cross.

FODE BALLO-TOURE (AC Milan)

Left-back Ballo-Toure has been made a fringe player at AC Milan by Theo Hernandez, but the Senegal international had a huge hand in their thrilling 3-1 win at Empoli. The 25-year-old wept with joy after putting Milan back ahead with his first league goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time, just two minutes after Nedim Bajrami curled home what he thought was the free-kick which would earn Empoli a point.

GERMANY

SADIO MANE (Bayern Munich)

Mane scored his first goal at the Allianz Arena — and his fourth of the season — to help Bayern Munich to a 4-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the eighth match of the league campaign. The goal helped Mane break a mini goal drought dating back to the third league match of the season, which was also the last time Bayern won a league game.

OMAR MARMOUSH (Wolfsburg)

Wolfsburg’s Egyptian striker Marmoush scored a crucial goal against former club Stuttgart as the Wolves won just their second game of the season, 3-2 at home. Marmoush, who claimed three goals and five assists in 23 games on loan at Stuttgart last season, was promoted to the starting line-up in place of injured Germany striker Lukas Nmecha.

AFP

Football Injuries ‘Up 20 Percent’ In Europe’s Top Leagues – Study

File photo: Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar reacts after getting tackled during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Lyon (OL), on December 13, 2020 at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

 

Injuries across Europe’s top five leagues rose by 20 percent in the 2021/22 season, according to a study published on Wednesday, as arguments intensify over football’s congested calendar ahead of the World Cup.

The study by insurance brokers Howden found clubs paid a record-high price for injuries of £513 million ($550 million) last season.

Injury cost was calculated by multiplying the cost per day of a player by the number of days they were unavailable because of an injury.

World players’ union FIFPRO says structures must be put in place to limit player workloads.

For the first time this year, a European campaign will be interrupted by a mid-season World Cup, causing further fixture congestion either side of the tournament in Qatar, which starts on November 20.

European governing body UEFA has increased the number of competitive games with the addition of the Nations League to the international schedule and is expanding European club competitions from 2024.

READ ALSOFIFA Ends Video Game Partnership With EA Sports After 30 Years

World governing body FIFA is set to follow suit, with the World Cup expanded to 48 teams from 2026.

The Premier League had the highest injury cost of any of the top five divisions at nearly £185 million, with La Liga in Spain a distant second on £109 million.

French champions Paris Saint-Germain had the highest injury cost of any club in Europe at £34 million.

Injuries in the Premier League were up to 1,231 in 2021/22, compared to 938 the season before.

The permanent adoption of five substitutions per side by football’s lawmakers IFAB is designed to lessen the load on players.

But FIFPRO is urging FIFA to go further by mandating minimum rest periods of four weeks in the off-season and a mid-season break of two weeks for each player.

AFP

European Gas Prices Surge To Six-Month Peak

A bus driver fills up at a gas station in Brooklyn on August 11, 2022 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP
A bus driver fills up at a gas station in Brooklyn on August 11, 2022 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP

 

European gas prices surged Tuesday to a six-month peak, exacerbating recession fears as the region faces the prospect of rationing following cuts to Russia supplies amid the war in Ukraine.

Oil prices, meanwhile, extended losses a day after tumbling more than five percent on fears demand will subside due to recessions or slow growth in major economies such as China.

Stocks mostly advanced despite the gloomy economic news on hopes central banks will let up on interest rate hikes.

In Europe, the natural gas reference price Dutch TTF rallied around 10 percent at one point to over 250 euros per megawatt hour — the highest level since the start of March, or not long after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Energy prices are soaring in Europe,” said market analyst Fawad Razaqzada at City Index and FOREX.com.

“Reduced Russian energy shipments of around only 20 percent of capacity through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline have increased the risk of rationing in the coming months,” he added.

Spiking gas prices would likely push European nations into recession, hitting demand for other goods such as oil.

“A slick of worry is growing about the darkening prospects for global growth as economies slow around the world, pushing down oil prices in expectation of lower demand,” noted Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst Hargreaves Lansdown.

Signs that Iran is moving towards a nuclear deal added to the downward pressure on prices, with an agreement seen as allowing the country to restart oil sales into the world market.

Analysts said Tehran could provide 2.5 million barrels a day, giving a much-needed shot in the arm to supplies, which have been hammered by sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

Libya has also boosted production, helping prices drop to six-month lows and wiping out the gains seen after the Ukraine war started.

But analysts warned that there might still be some way to go on an Iran agreement, owing to upcoming US elections.

“A deal with Iran would likely not be popular with US voters and so is hard to envisage before the November mid-terms,” said National Australia Bank’s Ray Attrill.

“Markets are currently prone to optimism, though, and hopes for a deal… have added to downward pressure on oil prices.”

Walmart boost

European stocks advanced despite dismal survey data from Germany, with the relatively low value of the euro and pound providing a lift.

“The US dollar is edging back up again benefitting from its position as the best of a bad bunch when it comes to how well the global economy is doing,” said Michael Hewson at CMC Markets.

“The weakness in the latest Chinese economic data, along with rising power prices in Europe is helping to push money into the greenback and out of everything else,” he added.

Wall Street stocks traded mixed, with the Dow rising after Walmart beat expectations despite having earlier issued a profit warning.

Shares in the big-box retailer surged around five percent.

Major markets have been buoyed in recent days on bets that the Federal Reserve would not lift borrowing costs by 75 basis points for a third straight time next month after decades-high inflation eased in the United States as well as data showing the economy to be cooling.

The recent drop in oil prices will help reduce inflation.

Key figures at around 1530 GMT

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 2.6 percent at $87.10 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 2.5 percent at $92.73 per barrel

New York – Dow: UP 0.3 percent at 34,111.91 points

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.4 percent at 3,805.02

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.4 percent at 7,536.06 (close)

Frankfurt – DAX: UP 0.7 percent at 13,910.12 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.3 percent at 6,592.58 (close)

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: FLAT at 28,868.91 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: DOWN 1.1 percent at 19,830.52 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.1 percent at 3,277.88 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0174 from $1.0166 Monday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2099 from $1.2055

Euro/pound: DOWN at 84.11 pence from 84.29 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 134.29 yen from 133.33 yen

AFP

African Players In Europe: Dream Home Debut For Awoniyi

Awoniyi joined Forest from Union Berlin. [email protected]

 

Nigerian Taiwo Awoniyi began repaying the £17.5 million ($21 mn, 20.7 mn euros) he cost Nottingham Forest with the goal that beat West Ham 1-0 in the Premier League at the weekend.

Joe Aribo was another Nigerian international to score in the most watched domestic league in the world, with his goal sparking a comeback that earned Southampton a 2-2 draw against Leeds.

Here, AFP Sport highlights some African headline-makers at the weekend:

ENGLAND TAIWO AWONIYI (Nottingham Forest)

Forest have made a remarkable 15 new signings on their return to the top flight for the first time in 23 years in a bid to guarantee survival. The biggest outlay of that shopping spree was a reported club record spent on Awoniyi from Union Berlin. Awoniyi made himself an instant hero on his home debut with the only goal as Forest beat West Ham, even if the 24-year-old knew little about the finish. A block from West Ham defender Ben Johnson cannoned off Awoniyi’s knee and trickled into the empty net.

READ ALSOConte, Tuchel See Red As Kane Snatches Spurs Draw At Chelsea

KALIDOU KOULIBALY (Chelsea)

The Senegal captain got his Chelsea career off to a flying start by scoring on his home debut in a tetchy 2-2 draw with Tottenham. Koulibaly showed the technique of a striker rather than a centre-back to volley in Marc Cucurella’s corner for the opening goal.

JOE ARIBO (Southampton)

Aribo came off the bench to score his first Premier League goal and possibly save Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl’s job in a draw with Leeds. Saints were trailing 2-0 when he was introduced just after the hour mark and it took just 10 minutes for the former Rangers man to give Southampton hope by showing neat footwork to round Illan Meslier and fire into the far corner.

GERMANY SADIO MANE (Bayern Munich)

Former Liverpool striker Sadio Mane again impressed for Bayern, despite not getting on the scoresheet in a 2-0 win over Wolfsburg. Mane had one goal in each half ruled out for offside as he looks to build a partnership with German winger Serge Gnabry similar to the one he shared with Mohamed Salah at Anfield.

ITALY ADEMOLA LOOKMAN (Atalanta)

Atalanta escaped from Sampdoria with a 2-0 win thanks in part to Lookman’s beautifully taken debut goal. The Nigeria international finished off a rapid counter-attack in the fifth minute of stoppage time with a cool finish after dummying the home defence.

ASSAN CEESAY (Lecce)

Gambian Ceesay had Lecce fans dreaming of a positive start to their Serie A season when he expertly finished off Federico Di Francesco’s neat through ball to draw the promoted side level with Inter Milan. It wasn’t to be as Denzel Dumfries snatched a last-gasp winner for Inter.

AFP

Climate Change Drives Europe Towards Record Fire Year

Tourists enjoy the beach in Phalasarna, northwest of the Greek mediterranean island of Crete on July 20, 2022, while temperatures remain at normal for the season levels despite the heatwave in northern parts of Europe. (Photo by Louisa GOULIAMAKI / AFP)

 

The fires that have torched through Europe are on course to make 2022 a record year for forest loss on the continent, as scientists warn climate change is already contributing to ever fiercer blazes.

Fires in parts of France, Spain and Portugal have already burned more land so far this year than in all of 2021 — some 517,881 hectares (5,000 km2), or the equivalent area of Trinidad and Tobago.

“The situation is much worse than expected, even if we were expecting temperature anomalies with our long-term forecasts,” Jesus San Miguel, coordinator of the European Union’s EFFIS satellite monitoring service, told AFP.

San Miguel said there could be worse to come, adding that the hallmarks of global heating were all over this year’s fire season.

“Ignition is caused by people (but) the heatwave is critical, and clearly linked to climate change,” he said.

“The fire season used to be concentrated from July to September. Now we are getting longer seasons and very intense fire. We expect climate change to create higher fire conditions in Europe.”

Temperatures have warmed just over 1.1 degrees Celsius since the industrial era, and the United Nations Says Earth is currently on track to warm some 2.7C this century.

This additional heat is enough to make the kind of heatwaves that baked Europe this week more likely to occur and to last longer when they do.

– Rising fire risk –

EFFIS said close to 40,000 hectares of forest in France have been lost to fire so far this year, more than the 30,000 that burned there in 2021.

Spain — where more than 500 people died during a 10-day heatwave this month — has seen 190,000 hectares go up in smoke this year, compared with 85,000 last year.

EFFIS said that Europe could end 2022 with more land burned by area than 2017, currently the worst recorded year for wildfires with nearly 1,000,000 hectares lost.

In all of 2021, 470,359 hectares of forest were lost to fires in Europe, mainly in Italy and Greece.

Yet those two countries have had a relatively good year in terms of wildfires: Italy has lost 25,000 hectares compared with more than 150,000 in 2021 and Greece has lost 7,800 compared with 130,000 a year ago.

This week temperatures topped 40C for the first time on record in Britain, where a relatively high 20,000 hectares have burned since January.

A study in February found that the proportion of July and August days of extreme fire risk in Britain would increase from 9 percent currently to 26 percent with 2C of warming.

Mark Parrington, head scientist at the EU’s Copernicus atmospheric monitoring service, said climate change had already contributed to how long wildfires last when they break out.

“What is remarkable is just how long they burn,” he told AFP. “This is not the kind of thing we typically see in Europe.

Hotter temperatures combined with near-unprecedented drought conditions across much of Europe contribute to making forests tinder dry, providing the ideal conditions for wildfires to start and then spread.

“There is a lot of fuel,” said Parrington. “In central and southern Europe there is a clear upward trend for fire risk.”

As well as damaging ecosystems and removing carbon-absorbing vegetation from the land, wildfires themselves contribute to climate change by emitting greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.

Copernicus this week said fires in June and July in Spain and Morocco had produced some 1.3 million tonnes of CO2 — the highest of any equivalent period since records began in 2003.

The blazes also affect air quality for nearby populations. In southwest France, elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide have been noted for days over the city of Bordeaux, just north of two major burn areas, and even in Paris, some 500 kilometres (310 miles) northeast.

AFP

Europe Counts Cost Of Heatwave As Spain PM Says More Than 500 Died

Tourists enjoy the beach in Phalasarna, northwest of the Greek mediterranean island of Crete on July 20, 2022, while temperatures remain at normal for the season levels despite the heatwave in northern parts of Europe.  (Photo by Louisa GOULIAMAKI / AFP)

 

Spain’s prime minister said “more than 500 people died” during a 10-day heatwave as Europe counts the cost of a record period of extreme temperatures.

Climate change protesters warned the scorching weather should be a wake-up call for the continent.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the “climate emergency is a reality”.

Speaking against a backdrop of charred trees and burnt ground in the hard-hit northeastern Zaragoza region, he urged people to take “extreme caution”.

Sanchez cited figures released by the Carlos III Health Institute, which estimates the number of heat-related fatalities based on the number of excess deaths compared to the average in previous years.

The institute has stressed these figures are a statistical estimate and not a record of official deaths.

Meanwhile Greek firefighters gained the upper hand in a battle against a wildfire raging for a second day in mountainside suburbs north of Athens that had forced hundreds of people to flee, an official said.

“For the most part the fire is in decline,” fire department spokesman Yiannis Artopios told reporters.

Greece had been spared the blistering heatwave experienced in western Europe, but flames fanned by high winds were threatening the suburbs of Penteli, Pallini, Anthousa and Gerakas, home to tens of thousands of people.

“The fire was scorching our backs, we left in the nick of time. Had we stayed another 30 seconds it would have burned us,” a Pallini resident who lost his car and shed to the flames told ERT television.

“The civil protection authority was late in alerting us,” he said.

In France, firefighters brought twin blazes near the southwestern city of Bordeaux under control.

Temperatures of more than 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) over previous days have spelled misery for millions and shattered heat records.

Cooler air swept in Wednesday, bringing relief to people from Portugal to Britain, but thousands of firefighters continued to tackle blazes that have broken out in multiple countries after months of drought-like conditions.

“Our assessment is generally positive. The situation improved overnight,” French fire service spokesman Arnaud Mendousse told AFP from the southwestern Gironde region where two huge blazes have engulfed 20,600 hectares (50,900 acres) of tinder-dry forest since last week.

– Heat records –

The heatwave saw a new all-time record for Britain where the national weather service clocked 40.3C in eastern England, surpassing the previous high set in 2019.

Grassland fires erupted on Tuesday on the edge of London, with one forcing the evacuation of 14 people as farm buildings, houses and garages were consumed by the flames.

Sixteen firefighters were injured around the capital with two taken to hospital, the London Fire Brigade said.

“Yesterday was the busiest day for the fire service in London since the Second World War,” the city’s mayor Sadiq Khan told Sky News on Wednesday, urging the public to remain vigilant despite temperatures now falling.

Khan also accused Conservative leadership candidates vying to succeed Prime Minister Boris Johnson of ignoring “the elephant in the room” of climate change.

Climate demonstrators triggered a lengthy tailback on Britain’s busiest motorway encircling London on Wednesday as they sought to highlight the need for greater action to reduce greenhouse gases responsible for global heating.

Members of the group Just Stop Oil climbed gantries over the M25 motorway, causing police to intervene.

“This is the moment when climate inaction is truly revealed in all its murderous glory for everyone to see: as an elite-driven death project that will extinguish all life if we let it,” the activist group said in a statement.

AFP

Europe Burns As Heatwave Breaks Temperature Records

Firefighters tackle a forest fire around the village of Eiriz in Baiao, north of Portugal, on July 15, 2022. (Photo by Patricia De Melo MOREIRA / AFP)

 

 

A fierce heatwave in western Europe on Monday left much of the continent wilting under a scorching sun, smashing temperature records and feeding ferocious forest wildfires.

In Britain, the 38.1 Celsius (100.9 Fahrenheit) in Suffolk, eastern England, made it the hottest day of the year and the third-hottest day on record.Expectations are now high that the current British record of 38.7C could be broken and 40C breached for the first time, with experts blaming climate change and predicting more frequent extreme weather to come.

Across the Channel in France, a host of towns and cities recorded their highest-ever temperatures on Monday, the national weather office said.

The mercury hit 39.3C in Brest on the Atlantic coast of Britany, in the far northwest of the country, smashing a previous record of 35.1C from 2002.

Saint-Brieuc, on the Channel coast, hit 39.5C beating a previous record of 38.1C, and the western city of Nantes recorded 42C, beating a decades-old high of 40.3C, set in 1949.

Firefighters in France’s southwest were still struggling in the crushing heat to contain two massive fires that have caused widespread destruction.

For nearly a week now, armies of firefighters and a fleet of waterbombing aircraft have battled blazes that have mobilised much of France’s firefighting capacity.

Holidaymakers evacuated

Ireland saw temperatures of 33C in Dublin — the highest since 1887 — while in the Netherlands, temperatures reached 35.4C in the southern city of Westdorpe. While that was not a record, higher temperatures are expected there on Tuesday.

Neighbouring Belgium also expected temperatures of 40C and over.

The European heatwave is the second to engulf parts of the southwest of the continent in recent weeks.

European Commission researchers meanwhile said nearly half (46 percent) of EU territory was exposed to warning-level drought. Eleven percent was at an alert level and crops were already suffering from lack of water.

Blazes in France, Greece, Portugal and Spain have destroyed thousands of hectares of land.

An area of nine kilometres (5.5 miles) long and eight kilometres wide was still ablaze near France’s Dune de Pilat, Europe’s highest sand dune, turning picturesque landscapes, popular campsites and pristine beaches into a scorching mess.

The blaze was literally “blowing things up”, such was its ferocity, said Marc Vermeulen, head of the local fire service. “Pine trunks of 40 years are bursting.”

A total of 8,000 people were being evacuated from near the dune Monday as a precaution, as changing winds blew thick smoke into residential areas, officials said.

Hurriedly packing her car, Patricia Monteil said she would go to her daughter’s who lived in another part of the district. “But if that goes up in flames too, I don’t know what to do.”

Around 32,000 tourists or residents have been forced to decamp in France, many to emergency shelters.

On Monday evening, prosecutors in the southwest city of Bordeaux said a man suspected of having started one of the fires in the region had been taken into custody.

In Spain, fire burning in the northwestern province of Zamora claimed the life of a 69-year-old shepherd, regional authorities said. On Sunday, a fireman died in the same area.

Later on Monday it was reported that an office worker in his fifties had died from heatstroke in Madrid.

Authorities have reported around 20 wildfires still raging from the south to Galicia in the far northwest, where blazes have destroyed around 4,500 hectares (more than 11,000 acres) of land.

‘Enjoy the sunshine’

The fires in Portugal claimed two more lives in the northern Vila Real region, after a car carrying two local villagers crashed off the road as they appeared to be trying to flee a fire zone, local officials said.

“We found the car and these two people, aged around 70 years, completely burnt,” the mayor of Murca, Mario Artur Lopez, told SIC Noticias television. The victims were from the nearby village of Penabeice, he added.

Almost the entire country has been on high alert for wildfires despite a slight drop in temperatures, which last Thursday hit 47C — a record for July.

The fires have already killed two other people, injured around 60 and destroyed between 12,000 and 15,000 hectares of land there.

In Britain, the government, already on the ropes after a series of scandals that forced Prime Minister Boris Johnson to quit, has been accused of taking the situation too lightly.

Johnson was criticised for having failed to attend an emergency meeting on the crisis on Sunday, instead hosting a farewell party at his state-funded country retreat.

And medics condemned comments by Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, who appeared to minimise the threat from the extreme heat when he told Britons to “enjoy the sunshine”.

The Sun tabloid headlined its coverage of the heat “British Bake Off”, observing that the “scorcher” was making the UK hotter than Ibiza where temperatures were a comparatively low 30C.

The extreme temperatures saw flights suspended at Luton Airport near London and Royal Air Force base Brize Norton due to “defects” on the runway, with no let-up expected for Tuesday.

Trains were cancelled and schools closed in affected areas.

In Brighton, on England’s south coast, bank worker Abu Bakr put the heatwave in perspective.

“I come from Sudan,” he said. “Forty, forty-five degrees is just the norm. This is as good as it can be.”

AFP

Europe Faces Stifling Record-Breaking June Heatwave

Beachgoers gather under parasols at Sokoa Beach, southwestern France, on June 18, 2022, as heatwave conditions sweep across France and western Europe. Spain, France and other western European nations braced for a sweltering June weekend that is set to break records, with forest fires and warnings over the effects of climate change.  GAIZKA IROZ / AFP

 

Spain, France and other western European nations on Saturday sweltered under a blistering June heatwave that has sparked forest fires and concerns that such early summer blasts of hot weather will now become the norm.

The weather on Saturday was the peak of a June heatwave that is in line with scientists’ predictions that such phenomena will now strike earlier in the year thanks to global warming.

The French southwestern town of Biarritz, one of the country’s most sought-after seaside resorts, saw its highest all-time temperature Saturday of 41 degrees, state forecaster Meteo France said.

Queues of hundreds of people and traffic jams formed outside aquatic leisure parks in France, with people seeing water as the only refuge from the devastating heat.

With the River Seine off-limits to bathing, scorched Parisians took refuge in the city’s fountains.

Temperatures in France could reach as high as 42 degrees C in some areas on Saturday, Meteo France said, adding that June records had already been beaten in 11 areas on Friday.

“This is the earliest heatwave ever recorded in France” since 1947, said Matthieu Sorel, a climatologist at Meteo France.

With “many monthly or even all-time temperature records likely to be beaten in several regions,” he called the weather a “marker of climate change”.

– Forest fires rage –

In a major incident in France, a fire triggered by the firing of an artillery shell in military training in the Var region of southern France was burning some 200 hectares (495 acres) of vegetation, local authorities said.

“There is no threat to anyone except 2,500 sheep who are being evacuated and taken to safety,” said local fire brigade chief Olivier Pecot.

The fire came from the Canjeurs military camp, the biggest such training site in Western Europe. Fire services’ work was impeded by the presence of non-exploded munitions in the deserted area but four Canadair plans have been deployed to water bomb the fires.

Farmers in the country are having to adapt. Daniel Toffaloni, a 60-year-old farmer near the southern city of Perpignan, now only works from “daybreak until 11.30am” and in the evening, as temperatures in his tomato greenhouses reach a sizzling 55 degrees C.

Forest fires in Spain on Saturday had burned nearly 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres) of land in the northwest Sierra de la Culebra region.

The flames forced several hundred people from their homes, and 14 villages were evacuated.

Some residents were able to return on Saturday morning, but regional authorities warned the fire “remains active”.

Firefighters were still battling blazes in several other regions, including woodlands in Catalonia.

Temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) were forecast in parts of the country on Saturday — with highs of 43 degrees C expected in the north-eastern city of Zaragoza.

There have also been fires in Germany, where temperatures were forecast to go as high as 40 degrees C on Saturday, although only reached 36 degrees C. A blaze in the Brandenburg region around Berlin had spread over about 60 hectares by Friday evening.

– Foretaste of future –

Dutch authorities said they expect Saturday to be the hottest day of the year so far.

The UK recorded its hottest day of the year on Friday, with temperatures reaching over 30 degrees C in the early afternoon, meteorologists said.

“I think at the moment people are just enjoying it being hot but if it gets any hotter than this, which I think it is meant to, then that’s a concern,” said Claire Moran, an editor in London.

Several towns in northern Italy have announced water rationing and the Lombardy region may declare a state of emergency as a record drought threatens harvests.

Italy’s dairy cows were putting out 10 per cent less milk, the main agricultural association, Coldiretti, said Saturday.

With temperatures far above the cows’ “ideal climate” of 22-24 degrees C, animals were drinking up to 140 litres of water per day, double their normal intake, and producing less due to stress, it said.

Experts warned the high temperatures were caused by worrying climate change trends.

“As a result of climate change, heatwaves are starting earlier,” said Clare Nullis, a spokeswoman for the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva.

“What we’re witnessing today is, unfortunately, a foretaste of the future” if concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continue to rise and push global warming towards 2 degrees C from pre-industrial levels, she added.

Huge Europe-Morocco Migration Begins After COVID-19 Hiatus

Morocco, a North African country bordering the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, is distinguished by its Berber, Arabian and European cultural influences.
Morocco, a North African country bordering the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, is distinguished by its Berber, Arabian and European cultural influences.

 

Morocco on Sunday begins welcoming an influx of its citizens living in Europe after the pandemic led to a halt in what has been called one of the world’s biggest cross-continental migrations.

The last such effort in the summer of 2019 saw 3.3 million people and more than three quarters of a million vehicles cross the Gibraltar Strait.

The North African kingdom is just 14 kilometres (nine miles) from the coast of Spain, which has announced it will also put in place special measures for Moroccans from June 15 for two months.

Spain’s government has called the seasonal migration “one of the biggest flows of people across continents in such a small time”.

Resuming large-scale cross-strait travel comes not only after an easing of the pandemic threat but also following a mending of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

The year-long diplomatic dispute had extended border closures originally put in place because of Covid-19, but maritime traffic resumed in April.

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“Operation Marhaba (Welcome) for Moroccans living overseas begins on June 5,” said a statement late Saturday from the Mohammed V Solidarity Foundation which organises the effort.

More than 1,000 people including doctors, social workers and volunteers have signed up to help people arriving at ports and airports.

Most will come by boat from Spain.

As well as at Moroccan ports, helpers will be stationed in the Spanish ports of Almeria and Algeciras, Marseille in France and Italy’s Genoa, among others.

The traffic goes in both directions, as many Moroccans also head to Spanish coastal resorts for their holidays.