Connect with us
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=12]

Top Story CP

Travellers face chaos as drones shut London’s Gatwick airport

Published

on

If you like this, share it!




  • LONDON — Tens of thousands of passengers were delayed, diverted or stuck on planes Thursday as the only runway at Britain’s Gatwick Airport remained closed into a second day after drones were spotted over the airfield.

    The airport south of London — Britain’s second-busiest by passenger numbers — closed its runway Wednesday evening after two drones were spotted.

    It reopened briefly at about 3 a.m. Thursday, but shut 45 minutes later after further sighting and remained closed at midday — 15 hours after the first sighting.

    Chris Woodroofe, Gatwick’s chief operating officer, said sightings of at least one drone were continuing, and “I cannot tell you what time we will reopen.”

    He said the vast majority of the 110,000 passengers due to pass through Gatwick on Thursday — one of the busiest travel days of the year — would experience disruption.

    All incoming and outgoing flights were suspended, and the airport’s two terminals were jammed with thousands of weary travellers, many of whom had spent the night on benches and floors.

    Police said the drone flights were a “deliberate act to disrupt the airport,” but that there were “absolutely no indications to suggest this is terror-related.”

    A police helicopter was hovering near the airfield as officers from two nearby forces hunted the drone operators.

    “The police advice is that it would be dangerous to seek to shoot the drone down because of what may happen to the stray bullets,” Woodroofe said.

    Gatwick, about 30 miles (45 kilometres) south of London, sees more than 43 million passengers a year to short- and long-haul destinations and serves as a major hub for the budget carrier easyJet.

    Any problem at Gatwick causes a ripple effect throughout Britain and continental Europe, particularly during a holiday period when air traffic control systems are under strain.

    Passengers complained on Twitter that their Gatwick-bound flights had landed at London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham and other cities.

    Luke McComiskie, who landed in Manchester — more than 160 miles (260 kilometres) from London — said the situation “was just chaos, and they had only two coaches (buses) and taxis charging people 600 pounds ($760) to get to Gatwick.”

    Andri Kyprianou, from Cyprus, described “freezing” conditions for passengers who spent the night at Gatwick’s South Terminal. Her flight to Kyiv had been cancelled.

    “I haven’t slept since yesterday morning. We are very tired. It’s freezing, we are cold, having to wear all of these coats for extra blankets,” she said.

    “There were pregnant women, one of them was sleeping on the floor. There were people with small babies in here overnight. We saw disabled people on chairs. There were young children sleeping on the floor.”

    Gatwick briefly closed its runway last year when a drone was spotted in the area. An errant drone also briefly led to the shutdown of Dubai International Airport in October 2016.

    Pilots have reported numerous near-misses with drones in recent years in Britain, and aviation authorities have warned there is a growing risk that a midair collision could cause a major disaster.

    Strong sales of small consumer drones have led to repeated warnings about a possible threat to commercial aviation.

    Britain has toughened its laws on drones, and flying one within 1 kilometre (0.6 miles) of an airport carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

    But opposition politicians accused the government of failing to do enough, pointing out that a registration system with safety checks for drone operators wouldn’t take effect until November.

    Christopher Lister, whose flight from Kyiv, Ukraine, to Gatwick was diverted to Birmingham in central England, said the scale of the disruption was “a little bit scary.”

    “We feel grateful it’s not a worse story this morning about an aircraft (that has) come down,” he told the BBC.

    Gregory Katz And Jill Lawless, The Associated Press









    If you like this, share it!

    National

    EU military wants to partner with Canada in Mali as it races for exit

    Published

    on

    If you like this, share it!




  • OTTAWA —  As Canada’s military mission races to leave Mali and the United Nations pleads for it to stay, the European Union is making a fresh appeal to the Canadian Forces to partner with it in the West African country.

    Gen. Esa Pulkkinen, director general of the EU’s military staff, told The Canadian Press that he has asked the Canadian government to bring its military training expertise to Mali as part of a broader effort to stamp out Islamic extremism in Africa’s Sahel region.

    Pulkkinen said he’s aware of the context of his request — it comes as Canada faces pressure from the UN to extend its Mali peacekeeping mission in order to bridge a gap until Romanian replacements can arrive.

    But he says Canada would make a great bilateral partner with the EU’s military training efforts in West Africa, which he says are crucial to stamping out security threats to Europe.

    Those threats include the mass northward migration to Europe, an increase in the smuggling of arms, drugs and human trafficking, as well as terrorism.

    Pulkkinen was in Ottawa this past week, and said he was planning to make a formal request to Canadian officials after raising the matter informally.

    “I need brains. I don’t need the quantities,” he said.

    “Your officer training is top level in the world. More importantly, you have French language skills as well, which we need when we provide advice for our Malian friends.”

    Pulkkinen already commands 1,000 troops in Somalia, the Central African Republic and Mali, and is partnering with the United States on various missions on the continent. He said the EU wants to ramp up its presence in Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad as well. 

    Joining forces with Canada would be a natural fit, he noted, because the EU mission is predicated on the same shared values.

    “We try to find other partners that share the same universal Western values as we have. They are very important when you provide education for our African troops,” Pulkkinen said.

    “The same understanding of the respect of human rights and other issues — you name it.”

    But the mission will be a tough sell for the EU.

    Canada is in the final throes of withdrawing its eight helicopters and 250 military personnel from Mali, where they have been providing emergency medical evacuations and transporting troops and equipment across the vast country.

    The drawdown has moved the UN to formally ask Canada to extend its mission in what appears to be a final effort to prevent a gap in military medical evacuations for wounded peacekeepers and UN staff.

    The UN sent a formal request, in writing, to the federal government late last month after months of behind-the-scenes prodding got them nowhere with Ottawa.

    The letter marks an unusual step: the UN usually only makes such requests if it believes it stands a good chance of a positive response, which in this case is far from certain.

    The government, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has repeatedly played down the gap it would be creating by leaving Mali on schedule.

    Pulkkinen’s request on behalf of the EU will only increase the pressure on the Trudeau government, which has faced criticism for what has been seen as a relatively weak return to the business of UN peacekeeping due to the Mali mission’s modest scope. The Liberals made peacekeeping a signature foreign policy promise during the 2015 federal election.

    Canada will face pressure this coming week when the UN hosts a major peacekeeping summit in New York, the first one since Vancouver hosted a similar gathering in November 2017.

    Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is expected to attend next week’s peacekeeping summit in New York, but her office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

    Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press


    If you like this, share it!
    Continue Reading

    National

    Canada Revenue Agency apologizes as online services go down

    Published

    on

    If you like this, share it!




  • OTTAWA — The Canada Revenue Agency says its online systems have gone down and it isn’t saying when they will be back.

    The agency is apologizing in a tweet for the cut in services this morning, saying officials are looking into the “technical issues.”

    Some Twitter users say the agency’s services appear to have been down since last night.

    Currently both the “My Account” and “My Business Account” log-in pages come up with notices that they are unavailable.

    Both are used heavily at this time of year for Canadians filing their taxes.

    The deadline to pay any taxes owing is April 30.

    The Canadian Press


    If you like this, share it!
    Continue Reading

    march, 2019

    fri8mar - 30aprmar 85:30 pmapr 30Real Estate Dinner Theatre5:30 pm - (april 30) 10:00 pm

    sat30mar - 31mar 3010:00 ammar 319th Annual Central Alberta Family Expo10:00 am - 5:00 pm (31)

    sat30mar1:00 pm- 4:00 pmMAGSaturday @ the MuseumMAGnificent Saturdays welcomes all ages and abilities to participate in a fun art project every week! 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    Trending

    X