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UK weather forecast: 121mph winds to destroy Britain as heavy floods cause travel misery | Weather | News


The Met Office issued a statement telling commuters that an overfall of water on roads will make journey times longer and tumultuous. There is currently a yellow warning in place as more than 1,000 properties were left without power. “Flooding of homes and businesses is likely,” they added.

Flights have been canceled at both Gatwick and Edinburgh airports, adding to the ongoing travel nightmare.

The warnings come after images were shared across social media of a roof being blown off a block of flats in Slough went viral.

The roof is pictured strewn across the high street and people have been warned to avoid the area.

The road is now closed and emergency services are at the scene, though Thames Valley Police said no-one was believed to be injured.

A taxi driver who narrowly missed being hit by the debris said it was “a miracle no-one was killed”.

Taxi driver Haris Baig, 30, from Slough, said his car was only metres away from being hit by the falling roof.

“At first I thought it was scaffolding, but then I realised the whole roof had come down,” he said.

“There was a massive amount of noise.

READ MORE: Solar storm warning: Space weather is ‘the greatest hazard to humanity

“I was about 15 metres away and slammed on my brakes. I got out to see if everyone was alright.

“That was my first reaction, but at the same time I was thinking is this even safe?”

“It was a disaster. It was a miracle no-one was killed,” he added.

The gale-force winds have also caused delays on the railway lines, with National Rail says it will be enforcing speed restrictions in the worst affected parts of the country.



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What do Labour voters think of the party’s leadership candidates? – Channel 4 News


Sir Keir Starmer has officially launched his bid to become Labour leader, with a promise to defend the party’s radical values and win back voters.

The Shadow Brexit Secretary also vowed to end anti-Semitism in the party.

Meanwhile, Rebecca Long-Bailey – the leadership contender seen as the favourite of the left – has been out canvassing members.

Our Home Affairs Correspondent, Darshna Soni, reports.



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‘Disastrous mistake’: Iran admits it shot down Ukrainian plane | News


Iran has announced that its military “unintentionally” shot down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing all 176 on board.

The statement on Saturday morning blames “human error” for the incident, adding that the military mistook Flight 752 for a “hostile target”.

Press TV also quoted Iran’s General Staff of the Armed Forces as saying that the plane had flown close to a “sensitive military site”.

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The military said it was at its “highest level of readiness” amid the heightened tensions with the United States.

“In such a condition, because of human error and in a unintentional way, the flight was hit,” the military said. It apologised and said it would upgrade its systems to prevent future tragedies.

In a statement posted on social media, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wrote that the country “deeply regrets this disastrous mistake.”

“My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences,” he said, adding that “investigations continue to identify and prosecute this great tragedy and unforgivable mistake.”

Iran had denied for several days that a missile downed the aircraft. But then the US and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believe Iran shot down the aircraft.

On Friday, Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran’s civil aviation department, said it was impossible due to close coordination between Iran’s air defence and civil aviation department.

“What is obvious for us, and what we can say with certainty, is that no missile hit the plane,” Abedzadeh told reporters in Tehran.




Video appears to show Ukraine plane being hit

The jetliner, a Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines, went down on the outskirts of Tehran during takeoff just hours after Iran launched a barrage of missiles at US forces in Iraq.

Al Jazeera’s Assed Baig, reporting from Tehran, said questions are now being raised as to why Iranian authorities kept the country’s air space open during a military operation.

“There’s a lot of explaining to do by Iranian authorities. People want to know why and how it happened.”

In a social media post, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that “human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to the disaster.”

“Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations.”

The plane, en route to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 Iranians, 57 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians, when it was shot down.

“This is the right step for the Iranian government to admit responsibility, and it gives people a step toward closure with this admission,” said Payman Parseyan, a prominent Iranian-Canadian in western Canada who lost a number of friends in the crash.

“I think the investigation would have disclosed it whether they admitted it or not. This will give them an opportunity to save face,” he told AP news agency.


SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies





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Texas shooting: Two people killed by armed gunman at church near Forth Worth | World | News


One person died at the scene of the shooting and one en route to the hospital, the Dallas Morning News said, citing a spokeswoman for local emergency services. Authorities were rushing to the scene at White Settlement, a suburb northwest of Fort Worth, where the West Freeway Church of Christ is located, local media said. The Fort Worth Fire Department issued an “active threat” assignment at around 11.30am (17.30pm GMT) local time and was assisting operations at the scene, according to reports.

A witness told a local CBS affiliate that a man armed with a shotgun walked up to a server during communion and opened fire, before being shot by a person attending the service.

“You feel like your life is flashing before you.

“I was so worried about my little one,” witness Isabel Arreola told the network.

Authorities believe the attacker was among the three people shot but it was not known whether he had been killed or injured, CBS 11 reported.

Mike Drivdahl, spokesman for the Fort Worth Fire Department, said the shootings took place at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, about 10 miles west of Fort Worth.

He said he had no information on the motive for the attack.

MedStar Mobile Healthcare spokeswoman Macara Trusty said one person died at the scene of the shooting and one person died en route to a hospital.

She said all the victims are male and Mr Drivdahl said that one of those shot was the gunman.

It was not immediately clear whether he was killed.

A witness told CBS11 News the gunman walked up to a server during Communion with a shotgun and began firing until another church member shot the suspect.

“It was the most scariest thing,” Isabel Arreola told the TV station.

“You feel like your life is flashing before you.

“I was so worried about my little one.”

Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement of condemnation for the “evil act of violence” at a “sacred” place of worship.

“I am grateful for the church members who acted quickly to take down the shooter and help prevent further loss of life,” Mr Abbott said.

“I ask all Texans to join us in praying for the White Settlement community and for all those affected by this horrible tragedy.”

White settlement is a city of about 17,000 people in Tarrant County.

Mr Drivdahl said his fire department was assisting city and county authorities in the investigation.

Bomb sniffing dogs were on the scene as a precaution, Mr Drivdahl said.

He added that he did not know how many people were attending the service when the shooting started.

“It’s a very tragic day whenever anyone in our community suffers,” Mr Drivdahl said.

“It not only affects people who were here today, it affects first responders as well.”



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Arsenal transfer news: Granit Xhaka’s agent addresses midfielder’s future



Granit Xhaka‘s agent has admitted that the midfielder wants to leave Arsenal in January.

Jose Noguera told Swiss publication BLICK that Xhaka has agreed personal terms with Hertha Berlin and that Arsenal have been informed of his desire to leave when the transfer window opens next month.

The Swiss international’s future has been in doubt ever since he swore at Arsenal’s supporters after being substituted against Crystal Palace at the end of September. Xhaka was subsequently stripped of the captaincy and dropped by then manager Unai Emery.

“Look, I will say it frankly and honestly: we are in agreement with Hertha BSC and would like to go to Berlin,” Noguera said.


“That’s what we said Arsenal’s club boss Raul Sanllehi and sports director Edu Gaspar – as well as the new coach Mikel Arteta.”

The news comes just hours after Mikel Arteta claimed Xhaka still had a future at Arsenal and revealed Manchester City had considered signing the player in July 2016.

“When I was going from Arsenal to City to start coaching and we were looking in that position, he was one of the players on my list,” Arteta said. “This is how much I liked him. I was happy when Arsenal signed him because I thought he was going to be a terrific player.

“He has done some really good things and now he has got stuck in a very difficult situation that, I think, was growing and growing and growing and one day it exploded. But I have been amazed as well by how this relationship is starting to come back a little bit and I think the fans have been very, very positive about him. Obviously it is difficult to change completely the scenario from where he was to a magnificent one. But I think we are in the right direction with him.”

Click here for our guide on how to watch all Amazon Prime Premier League fixtures for free, on 26 and 27 of December.



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Australian bushfires continue to rage as death toll rises – Channel 4 News



21 Dec 2019

Australia’s bushfires are taking more lives and communities. As temperatures in western Sydney climb towards 47 celsius.

 

Out of control across several states now – Australia’s bushfires are taking more lives and communities. As temperatures in western Sydney climb towards 47 celsius – officials in New South Wales are urging people to delay any Christmas travel plans – warning strong winds could push the flames in unpredictable directions.

Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison finally returned from his controversial holiday in Hawaii – to a political firestorm over his handling of a national crisis.

 



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Algeria holds state funeral for army chief | Algeria News


The state funeral for Algeria’s army chief is taking place, despite protesters defying calls for three days of mourning.

Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaid Salah suffered a heart attack on Monday.

The 80-year-old’s body was transferred to the People’s Palace where the newly elected president paid his respects.

Salah was regarded as the most powerful man in the country after longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned in April.

 

Al Jazeera’s Laura Burdon-Manley takes a look back at his life.





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NSW fires live: roads closed and second person dead in South Australia bushfires – latest news | Australia news






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Jeremy Corbyn news: JezzFest celebratory event to RETURN – despite election battering | Politics | News


The last Glastonbury-style festival to celebrate the Labour Party leader, dubbed JezzFest, took place in Tottenham, North London in June 2018. Plans for a JezzFest reboot come despite Jeremy Corbyn overseeing the party’s worst general election performance since the 1930s, and admitting he will quit in a matter of weeks. A new JezzFest Twitter account has been opened for the planned event, with a GoFundMe page launched by Nathan Harmer in a desperate bid to raise money for it.

The page has more than 2,000 followers but at the time of writing, just £50 had been donated from a total of four people less than 24 hours after the GoFundMe page was opened.

A tweet on the account says: “Thank you for everyone’s support for this event.

“We’re crowd funding for the event and every penny will help lots.

“Any surplus will be donated to food banks and to homeless charities.

“#JezzFest is going to be epic!”

Twitter user @JakeLex1989, who’s Twitter bio says “#Socialism will prevail, still hoping for a #LabourGov in the future” broke the news of the planned JezzFest reboot.

He tweeted: “OK guys, we’re organising a rally in #Islington some time in early to mid Feb 2020 to show our thanks to @jeremycorbyn.

“Early stages right now but for updates you can follow @JezzFest which is the dedicated account.

READ MORE: Furious Labour MP calls on Corbyn to be replaced as soon as Monday

Another person tweeted: “I wouldn’t mind betting the ERG and the new @Conservatives MPs from former @UKLabour stronghold seats would sponsor the do in grateful thanks for all the help he gave them.”

A third Twitter user wrote: “On behalf of all Tories, I’d love to pay Jeremy our heartfelt thanks for all his hard work over the last four years in helping us stay in power.

“Now he has given us the best Christmas present – a landslide majority. He’s done more for our movement than anyone since Thatcher

Several other Twitter users were so baffled by the relaunch of JezzFest they questioned whether it was actually a joke.

One person said: “Please tell me this is a parody?”

Another Twitter user wrote: “Is this some deep level sarcasm?”

Last year’s event cost a reported £1million to stage but was dominated by dwindling crowds and struggling ticket sales.

The festival was hit by a strong of problems, fuelling fears it was just a vanity project for the Labour leader, who might have been keen on replicating his popularity when he gave a rousing speech at theGlastonbury Festival to tens of thousands of fans a year earlier.

Tickets had been priced at £35 just two days before the event but were quickly slashed to just £10.

Unite, Britain’s biggest trade union and a major donor for the Labour Party, also reportedly spent up to £35,000 buying tickets to hand out to supporters for free.



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Boris Johnson takes victory lap of newly won north of England seats – Channel 4 News


Boris Johnson has promised former Labour voters he will ‘repay’ their trust as he visited the northeast of England to congratulate newly elected Tory MPs. He declared he wanted to spread opportunity to everyone.

Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn has faced more fury from former Labour MPs who lost their seats, claiming he had ‘failed as a communicator’ and warning that if the party didn’t sort itself out, it could spell the end of the Labour movement altogether.



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