People make their way through snow in Canary Wharf, London, Britain, February 27, 2018. REUTERS/Tom Jacobs
Freezing weather dubbed as the “Beast from the East” swept in from Siberia, forcing some schools to close and snarling the travel plans of thousands across Europe.
Parts of eastern Britain have seen up to 10 cm of snow this week, Britain’s weather service said, with Kent, North Wales and the northeast of England as the worst-affected areas.
Cars stood still on the M20 motorway in Kent and hundreds of train services and some flights were canceled and schools were closed.
“I felt it wasn’t safe to open. You know I’m here but obviously, I can’t look after 420 children so that was why I made the decision. It’s still snowing now. The roads aren’t safe and I just didn’t want staff being put at risk,” Mulbarton Primary School headteacher Bev Theobald said.
Meanwhile, yellow and orange alerts were issued nationwide in Spain. This, as rain, wind, rough seas, snow and low temperatures are expected to extend at least until Sunday, according to forecast.
The western Croatian town of Delnice in Croatia saw 182 cm of snow blanketing the area and temperatures hit a low of minus 20 degrees Celsius.
“Too much of it fell in a short period of time, that’s why this is such a problem,” said Bruno Kovac, a Delnice locale resident.
Boats in the Bakar Bay Marina on the Adriatic coast were covered with a thick layer of ice after sleet froze in sub-zero temperatures. Some sunk under the heavy weight of ice.
Meanwhile, videos and photographs posted on social media showed Corsica. France’s capital Ajaccio, blanketed with snow from Monday evening, as well as surrounding mountainous villages.
The cold snap triggered a jump in power prices in France, a country still largely reliant on electric heating. Nonetheless, state utility EDF said it was delaying planned maintenance outages at two nuclear reactors by a week. — Reuters
Iranian women enjoying their first sporting experience as fans gear up for Iran-Spain
Iranian woman enjoying live sport for the first time (Image grabbed from Reuters video)
Iran and Spain supporters blew trumpets and banged drums in Kazan’s streets on Wednesday afternoon ahead of their teams’ Group B game.
Some Iranian women who travelled to Russia to support their national team experienced watching a game in a stadium for the first time when Iran beat Morocco on Friday.
They were looking forward to cheer for their team again at the Kazan Arena.
The Islamic republic has barred women from attending male soccer matches and other sports fixtures partly to protect them from hearing fans swear.
But that is about to change as Tehran’s Azadi Stadium will admit women to watch Iran take on Spain live on a big screen.
Spanish supporters who could be seen chanting side by side with Iranian supporters were confident of their team’s victory but still enjoyed the good spirit of their interactions with the opposing supporters.
One La Roja supporter from Peru was encouraged to see steps being made to allow more women to enjoy the world cup experience.
The 2010 champions head into the second match at Kazan Arena eager for a win under new coach Fernando Hierro, having been held to a 3-3 draw by Iberian rivals Portugal. — Reuters
Thousands protest in Madrid as five cleared of gang rape at San Fermin Festival
People shout slogans during a protest after a Spanish court condemned five men accused of the group rape of an 18-year-old woman, in Malaga, Spain, April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
Thousands of people have been protesting across Spain, after a court acquitted five men of rape charges for an attack on a young woman during a bull-running festival.
Angry demonstrators packed central Madrid and other cities shouting.
The five were jailed for nine years for sexual assault, but many saw the sentence as too lenient.
Both the woman and the defendants say they will appeal against the verdict. — Reuters
London sky turns yellow as storm blows in Saharan dust, wildfires smoke
The sky over London turned an unusual shade of yellow on Monday as storm Ophelia brought dust from the Sahara and smoke from wildfires in southern Europe that filtered out certain wavelengths of sunlight.
Downgraded from a hurricane overnight, Ophelia caused two deaths in Ireland on Monday, where it was the worst storm in half a century.
While winds were moderate in the British capital, the yellow sky surprised Londoners, many of whom posted pictures on social media.
“It is crazy. I’ve lived here for a while and I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Dan Copping, a Londoner.
“The storm is blowing up more sand. It seems cool, but it is kind of scary,” said Greg, a local resident.
At least 35 people have been killed in wildfires raging through parched farmlands and forests in Portugal and neighboring Spain on Sunday and Monday.
Firefighters are battling 50 blazes in Portugal and a similar number in northwestern Spain.
Portugal’s government asked for international help and declared a state of emergency in territory north of the Tagus River — about half of its landmass.
Officials in Portugal and Spain said arsonists had started some of the blazes.
Spanish Interior Ministry said some of those responsible had already been identified. They could face up to 20 years in jail if convicted, police said. — Reuters