Flights to Belfast City Airport Cancelled as Heavy Fog Disrupts UK Airports

Flights To Belfast City Airport Cancelled As Heavy Fog Disrupts Uk Airports

In a weather-related incident on Sunday night, Aer Lingus flights from Newcastle, Birmingham, and Leeds-Bradford to Belfast City Airport were cancelled as planes were unable to land due to heavy fog lingering over Northern Ireland. The adverse weather conditions also impacted Belfast International Airport, leading to diversions and cancellations.

According to reports from The Mirror, several aircraft were seen circling above Belfast City Airport, awaiting clearance to safely land. One flight had to be diverted to Dublin due to the challenging weather conditions. Additionally, an Aer Lingus flight from Belfast Airport to Glasgow was forced to divert to Edinburgh after the runway was engulfed in fog, as previously reported by Edinburgh Live.

Images from Flightrader displayed a cluster of planes hovering over Northern Ireland’s capital, unable to land due to the thick fog. Forecasters predict that the weather conditions will persist until Monday morning, with a simultaneous drop in temperatures expected overnight.

Although the exact reasons for the cancellations of flights from Newcastle, Birmingham, and Leeds-Bradford to Belfast City Airport are yet to be confirmed, it is likely that the heavy fog played a significant role. Passengers were left disappointed as their travel plans were disrupted, and several departures from Belfast City Airport were also cancelled.

In addition to affecting air travel, the adverse weather conditions led to the closure of roads across Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK due to icy conditions. Authorities have issued reminders to motorists to exercise caution, slow down, and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles.

Commenting on the prevailing weather conditions, Jason Kelly, the chief forecaster at the Met Office, stated that a noticeable drop in temperatures could be expected in the coming week. The UK is likely to experience colder-than-average temperatures, especially in the southern regions where brisk easterly winds will further accentuate the cold. However, the high-pressure system in place is expected to bring more settled weather, with clearer skies and reduced precipitation. Nevertheless, any showers that do occur are likely to be wintry in nature. Given the combination of freezing temperatures overnight, saturated ground, and calm winds, there is an increasing risk of frost, fog, and icy conditions.

As the affected airports and travelers await improved weather conditions, it is essential for passengers to stay updated with the latest information from airlines and authorities regarding flight schedules and road conditions.


Source: Edinburgh Live

Rescue Effort Saves Trapped Miners at Redwing Mine in Zimbabwe

Rescue Effort Saves Trapped Miners At Redwing Mine In Zimbabwe

In a remarkable display of bravery and perseverance, rescuers successfully extracted all 15 subsistence mine workers who were trapped underground in a collapsed shaft at Redwing mine in Zimbabwe. The incident occurred on Thursday, leaving the miners in a dire situation until their eventual rescue on Sunday, as reported by government spokesperson Nick Mangwana.

Located approximately 270 km east of the capital city Harare, the Redwing mine experienced a ground collapse, leading to the entrapment of the workers. The rescue operation faced significant challenges due to unstable ground conditions, causing delays in reaching the trapped miners. Metallon Gold, the owner of Redwing mine, cited the unstable ground as a contributing factor to the rescue operation’s complexity.

However, despite the hurdles, the relentless efforts of the rescuers paid off, and all the miners were successfully brought to safety. A video shared on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, by government spokesperson Nick Mangwana showcased the heartwarming moment when the mud-covered workers emerged from the mine shaft and were greeted by a jubilant crowd at the mine site.

Redwing mine has been the site of subsistence mining activities carried out by miners engaging in unsanctioned work since the mine was placed under corporate rescue in 2020, according to Metallon Gold. The incident serves as a reminder of the risks faced by these miners who often work in precarious conditions with limited safety measures.

The successful rescue operation not only highlights the dedication and expertise of the rescue teams involved but also underscores the value of collaboration and swift action in such situations. The government, mine owners, and the rescue teams worked together to ensure the safety of the trapped miners, showcasing the importance of a coordinated response.

As investigations into the cause of the collapse are likely to follow, it is crucial for authorities to address the issue of subsistence mining and work towards improving safety measures in these informal mining operations. The incident serves as a wake-up call to prioritize the welfare and safety of all miners, regardless of their working status.

The successful rescue at Redwing mine is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the determination to save lives. The rescued miners can now begin the process of recovery and healing, while industry stakeholders must reflect on the incident and take steps to prevent similar occurrences in the future.


Source: VOA

Nigeria Signs MoU with Saudi Arabia for Smooth Conduct of 2024 Hajj

Nigeria Signs Mou With Saudi Arabia For Smooth Conduct Of 2024 Hajj

In a significant development, Nigeria has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Saudi Arabian authorities to ensure the seamless and well-organized execution of the 2024 Hajj pilgrimage. The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) confirmed this momentous achievement in a statement released on Sunday in Abuja.

According to Fatima Sanda-Usara, the assistant director of Public Affairs at NAHCON, Nigeria, represented by key officials led by Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Yusuf Tuggar and acting Chairman of NAHCON Malam Jalal Arabi, solidified its commitment to a successful Hajj by formalizing the 2024 (1445AH) Hajj Memorandum of Understanding with the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. The signing ceremony took place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Before the MoU signing, the Nigerian delegation engaged in productive discussions with the Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah. Nigeria took the opportunity to raise the issue of a lasting solution to the shortage of tents in Muna, an important area for the Hajj pilgrimage. Additionally, the Nigerian government emphasized the need for more favorable terms for Nigerian carriers involved in transporting pilgrims. Furthermore, the Nigerian team extended an invitation to the Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah to visit Nigeria.

Mrs. Sanda-Usara highlighted that the Saudi Minister acknowledged the challenge of space in Muna and assured the Nigerian delegation that efforts were underway to optimize the utilization of the available two million square meters to accommodate the over two million annual pilgrims. The Saudi Minister expressed the ministry’s support for all measures aimed at providing the best services to pilgrims and agreed to visit Nigeria in the near future.

The meeting was attended by other key participants, including the Nigerian Consul-General in Jeddah, Bello Kazaure, senior officers from the Nigerian Mission in Saudi Arabia, and representatives from NAHCON.

Nigeria has been allocated 95,000 Hajj slots by the Saudi Arabian Ministry for Hajj and Umrah for the 2024 holy pilgrimage. This allocation demonstrates the strong bilateral relationship between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia and the trust placed in Nigeria to ensure a smooth and successful Hajj experience for its citizens.

With the MoU in place, Nigeria is poised to enhance its coordination and cooperation with Saudi Arabia to address logistical challenges, improve services, and provide a memorable and spiritually fulfilling Hajj experience for Nigerian pilgrims. The signing of the MoU marks an important milestone in the preparations for the 2024 Hajj, bringing Nigeria a step closer to facilitating a well-organized and hassle-free pilgrimage for its citizens.


Source: Premium Times NG

Angola’s Richest Woman, Isabel dos Santos, Loses High Court Battle Over Frozen Assets

Angola's Richest Woman, Isabel Dos Santos, Loses High Court Battle Over Frozen Assets

Isabel dos Santos, an Angolan billionaire who has been widely regarded as Africa’s wealthiest woman, has suffered a legal setback in the High Court as her attempt to prevent the freezing of her assets has been unsuccessful.

Dos Santos, the daughter of a former Angolan president, is facing a lawsuit from telecoms company Unitel, which is seeking damages amounting to $733 million (£580 million) related to financial decisions she made while serving as a director of the firm.

The case against Dos Santos has been marred by allegations of corruption and exploitation of resources during her involvement with major Angolan companies. Leaked documents obtained by the BBC have implicated her in accumulating her fortune through illicit means.

Dos Santos has vehemently denied the allegations, attributing them to a politically motivated campaign orchestrated by the current Angolan government. She has dismissed the claims as baseless and insisted that they were founded on fabricated documents and false information.

Unitel, in its claim against Dos Santos, focuses on loans granted in 2012 and 2013 totalling around $400 million to a company called Unitel International Holdings (UIH), which is owned and controlled by Dos Santos. The telecoms company alleges that the loans were made at below-market rates and without adequate security, primarily benefiting Dos Santos herself.

Dos Santos has countered Unitel’s allegations, asserting that the loans to UIH were approved by the board and shareholders of Unitel and were made in good faith.

The High Court ruling grants a freezing order in favour of Unitel, and while the specific terms of the order will be determined in a subsequent hearing, it has been reported that Dos Santos’ assets include properties in the United Kingdom valued at up to £33.5 million ($42 million), as well as properties worth $95 million in Monaco and Dubai.

The ongoing legal battle adds to the challenges faced by Dos Santos, who has previously been listed as Africa’s wealthiest woman with an estimated fortune of $2 billion. However, her assets are currently under dispute in multiple jurisdictions, leading to her exclusion from Forbes’ rankings of the world’s wealthiest individuals.

Dos Santos’ case represents a high-profile clash between powerful figures in Angola’s political and business spheres, and its outcome is anticipated with keen interest both within the country and internationally.


Source: BBC

Sentencing Date Adjourned for South African Woman Found Guilty of Murdering Her Three Daughters

Sentencing Date Adjourned For South African Woman Found Guilty Of Murdering Her Three Daughters

The sentencing date for 41-year-old South African woman, Lauren Dickason, who was convicted of murdering her three daughters in September 2020, has been delayed until next year, according to reports from New Zealand media.

Dickason was found guilty in August for the murder of her two-year-old twins, Maya and Karla, and her six-year-old daughter, Liane, at their family home in Timaru, New Zealand. Initially scheduled for December 19, her sentencing date has been adjourned without a specific date set, as reported by The Press.

Although the sentencing has been postponed, Dickason’s case will appear in court again in February. During her five-week-long trial, her mental health was extensively examined, and she was ultimately found guilty of three counts of murder by 11 out of the 12 jurors.

Lauren Dickason, a former medical doctor from Pretoria, arrived in New Zealand with her husband Graham and their three children on August 28, 2020. However, tragedy struck on September 16 when she smothered her three young children to death.

Dickason admitted to the killings but pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and infanticide, with her defence presenting expert witnesses and testimonies from those close to her in support of her plea.

The prosecution in the trial aimed to establish that Dickason acted with intent. Throughout the proceedings, her challenging journey to motherhood, including 17 rounds of IVF and the loss of a baby, played a significant role in the defence’s arguments.

While Dickason has garnered a growing number of supporters, particularly women from around the world who have sent messages of hope and support, her contact with them has been restricted. Currently held at the Hillmorton mental health hospital, Dickason was reportedly barred from sending or receiving letters, according to her supporters and reports from Stuff.NZ.

The adjournment of the sentencing date prolongs the legal proceedings surrounding this tragic case, leaving many awaiting the final outcome and the justice that will be served.


Source: Independent Online SA

Germany Donates €10 Million to WFP to Provide Nutritious Meals to School Children in Sierra Leone

Germany Donates €10 Million To Wfp To Provide Nutritious Meals To School Children In Sierra Leone

The Federal Republic of Germany has pledged a generous donation of €10 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to support the provision of nutritious meals to primary school children in the Karene district of northern Sierra Leone. This significant contribution aims to improve food security, boost local food production, and stimulate the economy while enhancing the well-being of vulnerable children.

Under the German-funded home-grown school meals program, WFP will supply diverse and safe meals to approximately 25,300 pre and primary school children in 115 schools from 2024 to 2028. The meals will be prepared using locally produced food sourced from 8,000 smallholder farmers. By connecting farmers to schools and promoting local agricultural communities, particularly women, the project will create demand for nutritious and diverse food, shorten value chains, and strengthen food systems.

Sierra Leone has been a crucial focus for WFP’s school feeding initiatives, providing meals to 238,000 students across five districts. With this new contribution, the home-grown school feeding program will expand to cover 53,000 pupils, marking a 22 percent increase in early 2024.

Jens Kraus-Massé, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Sierra Leone, emphasized the significance of this contribution, stating, “This contribution shows the commitment of Germany to improving food security in Sierra Leone in line with the Government’s ‘Feed Salone’ initiative.”

Conrad Sackey, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, expressed his gratitude for the timely funding, highlighting its crucial role in realizing the President’s vision for human capital development. The government of Sierra Leone has prioritized home-grown school feeding as a key component of its National School Feeding Policy, recognizing its potential to induce social and economic development within communities.

Yvonne Forsen, WFP’s Representative and Country Director in Sierra Leone, expressed delight at Germany’s commitment to transforming the lives of vulnerable populations in Sierra Leone. She reaffirmed WFP’s dedication to partnering with organizations to enhance food security, nutrition, livelihoods, and the local economy in the country.

Additionally, in alignment with the Sierra Leonean government’s efforts to address the global climate crisis, a portion of the German funding will be allocated to constructing environmentally friendly kitchens and storerooms, as well as fuel-efficient stoves to reduce the use of firewood.

The United Nations World Food Programme, known as the largest humanitarian organization globally, strives to save lives during emergencies and employs food assistance to establish a pathway to peace, stability, and prosperity for individuals recovering from conflicts, disasters, and the impacts of climate change.


Source: World Food Programme

European Court of Justice Rules UEFA and FIFA Violated EU Law in Super League Case

European Court Of Justice Rules Uefa And Fifa Violated Eu Law In Super League Case

In a groundbreaking ruling on Thursday, the European Court of Justice declared that UEFA and FIFA contravened EU law by obstructing the establishment of a Super League, potentially heralding a transformation in the governance of football.

The decision by the EU’s highest court follows the threat posed by European soccer clubs to form a breakaway league, which sparked widespread outrage among passionate fans. UEFA had issued sanctions as a deterrent, leading to the withdrawal of nine clubs from the proposed project.

According to the ruling, FIFA and UEFA abused their dominant position by prohibiting clubs from participating in a European Super League (ESL). However, the court did not render a verdict specifically on the ESL project itself, leaving its fate undetermined.

UEFA, which has organized pan-European competitions for nearly seven decades, perceives the ESL as a significant threat to the highly lucrative Champions League, in which teams qualify based on merit.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, and nine other prominent European clubs had announced the formation of the closed ESL in April 2021. However, the venture collapsed within 48 hours due to widespread protests from fans, governments, and players, compelling Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Atletico Madrid to withdraw.

Sports development company A22, established to assist in creating the ESL, argued that UEFA and FIFA held a monopoly position that violated the European Union’s Competition and Free Movement Law.

“We have won the right to compete. The UEFA-monopoly is over. Football is free,” declared A22 CEO Bernd Reichart.

Reichart added, “Clubs are now free from the threat of sanction and free to determine their own futures,” emphasizing the significance of the court’s decision.

UEFA responded by clarifying that the ruling did not signify an endorsement or validation of the Super League. The organization stated that it had addressed a deficiency highlighted within its own framework and expressed confidence in the compliance of its new rules with relevant European laws and regulations.

FIFA has yet to provide a response to the ruling.

The court’s judgment emphasized that FIFA and UEFA must adhere to competition rules and respect freedom of movement, underscoring that their regulations pertaining to approval, control, and sanctions constituted unwarranted constraints on the freedom to provide services.

The ruling does not imply automatic approval for a competition like the Super League project. The court refrained from offering a verdict on the specific project, focusing instead on FIFA and UEFA’s regulations in general.

Following the collapse of the ESL plan, only three clubs persisted with their involvement, but Juventus withdrew earlier this year after the resignation of its former chairman, Andrea Agnelli, a key figure behind the project, and its board in November 2022.

Real Madrid and Barcelona remained determined to proceed with the competition, prompting the ESL to bring their case before a Spanish court, which sought guidance from the European Court in Luxembourg. The Spanish court will now assess the ruling and apply its responses to the facts of the case.

LaLiga, the top professional league in Spain, stated, “Today, more than ever, we reiterate that the ‘Super League’ is a selfish and elitist model.”

Additionally, Belgian soccer club Royal Antwerp challenged UEFA’s rules on homegrown players, and the court determined that these rules could be contrary to EU law.

Simultaneously, the International Skating Union failed in its attempt to overturn an EU antitrust order that prohibited penalizing speed skaters for participating in new, lucrative events.


Source: France24

Kenya Disassociates Itself from Congolese Opposition Figure’s Alliance with Rebels, Causing Diplomatic Tensions

Kenya Disassociates Itself From Congolese Opposition Figure's Alliance With Rebels, Causing Diplomatic Tensions

Kenya has declared its strong disassociation from a Congolese opposition figure who formed an alliance with rebels in Nairobi, leading to a diplomatic dispute with Kinshasa. The Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Sunday that it would conduct an investigation into the political-military alliance, prompting the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to recall its ambassador in protest.

The alliance, known as the Congo River Alliance, was launched on Friday and includes various DRC politicians and groups, including the M23 rebels who have seized territory in the eastern part of the country, as well as Corneille Nangaa, a former DRC election commission chief.

In response to this development, the DRC recalled its ambassadors to Kenya and Tanzania for consultations on Saturday. The recall of the envoy to Tanzania was due to Tanzania hosting the headquarters of the East African Community bloc, to which the DRC also belongs.

Kenya’s Foreign Minister, Musalia Mudavadi, issued a statement stating that Kenya was aware that some DRC nationals had made statements during a press conference in Kenya that were “inimical to the constitutional order of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” He emphasized that Kenya strongly distances itself from any activities or statements that could harm the peace and security of the friendly nation of the DRC and that an investigation has been initiated.

The investigation aims to identify the individuals responsible for the statements and assess the extent to which their remarks fall outside the realm of constitutionally protected speech, according to the minister.

The formation of the Congo River Alliance, as described by Nangaa, aims to unite various Congolese armed groups, militias, and social and political organizations. This development raises concerns in a region plagued by long-standing insecurity fuelled by ethnic rivalries and resource conflicts.

The diplomatic tensions come at a time of escalating security concerns ahead of the DRC’s presidential elections scheduled for December 20. The country has been grappling with civil strife for decades. M23 rebels, which had been dormant for several years, resurfaced in late 2021 and seized control of large parts of the eastern province of North Kivu. The conflict has resulted in the displacement of approximately seven million Congolese within their own country.

Human Rights Watch estimates that over 1.5 million Congolese in conflict-affected areas will be unable to vote in the upcoming elections, while millions of internally displaced people will face similar challenges.

Nangaa justified the formation of the new alliance by stating that the state is too weak to ensure order in the impoverished and war-torn country, emphasizing the need for a new movement to fill the void.

The government’s spokesman, Patrick Muyaya, accused Nangaa of being “unpatriotic” and engaging in “subversive activities.”

Expressing extreme concern, Bintou Keita, the head of the UN’s peacekeeping mission in the DRC, called on all political actors to operate within the framework of the Constitution, respect human rights, and uphold the rule of law.

As the diplomatic row unfolds and tensions escalate, it remains to be seen how the situation will impact the fragile stability of the region and the upcoming elections in the DRC.


Source: Aljazeera

SaxaVord Spaceport in Shetland Islands Becomes UK’s First Vertical Rocket Launch Site

The SaxaVord Spaceport, located on the small island of Unst in the Shetland Islands, has received approval from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to become the UK’s first spaceport for vertical rocket launches. The site is set to begin launches in 2024 and will be the first fully-licensed spaceport in Western Europe capable of launching rockets vertically into orbit.

The SaxaVord Spaceport has been granted permission to conduct up to 30 launches per year, with the primary purpose of deploying satellites and other payloads into space. The spaceport, which is the first of its kind in Scotland, has attracted several launch operators from around the world who are currently developing rockets.

German rocket firm HyImpulse is expected to attempt sub-orbital launches from SaxaVord starting in August. Subsequently, full orbital launches are planned to commence in 2025. Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA), another German company, also has plans for orbital launches from the spaceport. Additionally, Lockheed Martin/ABL Space Systems is preparing for the official UK Government Pathfinder launch from SaxaVord.

Skyrora, an Edinburgh-based company, aims to be the first UK firm to conduct launches from British soil in the near future. The SaxaVord Spaceport, originally a former RAF radar station, is co-owned by Frank and Debbie Strang. The couple purchased the site 15 years ago with initial plans to develop it into an eco-tourism attraction.

Mr. Strang expressed his excitement about the awarding of the license, describing it as a “historic” moment. He emphasized the team’s pride in being entrusted with the operation of a complex and multi-launch spaceport. The space industry in the UK is estimated to be worth £17.5 billion and supports tens of thousands of jobs across thousands of firms.

The CAA’s decision to grant SaxaVord its license is seen as a significant milestone for the UK space sector. Tim Johnson, the director of space regulation at the CAA, stated that this marks a new chapter for UK space as rockets may soon be launching satellites into orbit from Scotland. The UK Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, believes that this announcement will boost the economy of Shetland and position the United Kingdom as a leader in spaceflight innovation.

Last week, the UK Space Agency also announced funding of over £6.7 million to further support Scotland’s spaceport ambitions. With five proposed spaceports under development in Scotland, including the Sutherland Spaceport and plans for additional spaceports in North Uist, Glasgow Prestwick, and Spaceport Machrihanish, the country is positioning itself to play a significant role in the burgeoning space industry.

The granting of the license to SaxaVord Spaceport represents a significant step forward for the UK’s space capabilities. As preparations continue and the spaceport begins operations in 2024, the UK is poised to enter a new era of space exploration and satellite deployment, further solidifying its position as a key player in the global space race.


Source: BBC

African Union Transition Mission Resumes Handover of Security Responsibilities to Somali Government Forces

African Union Transition Mission Resumes Handover Of Security Responsibilities To Somali Government Forces

The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) has resumed the process of handing over security responsibilities to Somali government forces after a three-month pause, according to officials. The handover includes control of the State House, also known as Villa Somalia, where Somali President Mohammed Hassan Sheikh Mohamud resides and works, as well as the parliament building.

Since 2007, AU forces have been working alongside Somali forces to secure strategic sites in the capital, Mogadishu, including the presidential palace, parliament building, airport, and seaport. However, Somali forces now assume sole responsibility for these key seats of the executive and legislative branches of government.

In an interview with VOA Somali, Mohamed El-Amine Souef, the AU envoy to Somalia and the head of ATMIS, confirmed the resumption of the drawdown. He expressed that the handover of the State House and the parliament marks a significant achievement and a positive signal to international partners that the Federal Government of Somalia is ready to take on its responsibilities.

As part of the drawdown, the mission plans to withdraw 3,000 soldiers by December 31st, and the responsibility for ten bases will be handed over in this phase. The first phase of the AU drawdown was completed in June when 2,000 troops left Somalia. However, in September, the Somali government requested a 90-day pause due to military setbacks in the fight against al-Shabab militants.

Hussein Sheikh-Ali, the national security adviser to the president of Somalia, confirmed the transfer of the presidential palace to the Somali army and police and expressed gratitude to the Ugandan forces who protected it for the past 16 years.

The recent lifting of an arms embargo has provided a boost to the Somali government’s efforts. Souef stated that the Somali authorities now have the capability to acquire the necessary arms, equipment, and ammunition to effectively combat the enemy.

Looking ahead, plans are in motion for a new mission to support Somalia’s national army beyond the ATMIS handover. Souef explained that the African Union is required to establish a new mission with a new mandate by January 1, 2025. This mission, which will have a combination of troops and civilians, will focus on capacity building, protection of populated areas and strategic infrastructure in Mogadishu and other capitals of federal member states.

While the specifics of the new mission are still being negotiated, Hussein Sheikh-Ali revealed that the Somali government is discussing the establishment of a multilateral protection force that will work closely with the Somali Security Forces to safeguard critical infrastructures in major cities where international agencies and embassies operate. The possibility of the new mission falling under the AU umbrella has not been ruled out.

As the ATMIS drawdown continues and plans for the future mission progress, the African Union’s commitment to supporting Somalia remains steadfast. The transition may mark a new chapter in Somalia’s security landscape, but it does not signify the end of AU engagement in the country.


Source: VOA