445 flights affected as volcano belches huge plumes of smoke on Bali, Indonesia

Karangasem, Jakarta (Indonesia): The closure of I Gusti Ngurah Rai airport on the Indonesian island of Bali due to a volcanic eruption has affected 445 flights, including 196 international routes, its operator said on Monday.

PT Angkasa Pura, the operator, has prepared five alternative airports for airlines to divert their inbound flights, including ones in neighbouring provinces, it said in a statement.

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Bali airport’s official website showed flights operated by Singapore Airlines, Sriwijaya, Garuda Indonesia, Tiger Air, Malaysian Airlines and Jetstar had been canceled.

 

An eruption could be imminent at a volcano belching huge plumes of smoke on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali, officials warned Monday, as they raised the alert to the highest level and increased the exclusion zone.

Tourists have been left stranded on the island as flights were diverted away from the island’s airport due to the warning and the presence of volcanic ash from the erupting Mount Agung.

 Huge plumes of smoke have been pouring out of Mount Agung since Tuesday and senior state volcanologist Gede Suantika said it was belching thick grey smoke more than three kilometres into the sky early Monday.“The volcano’s alert level has been raised to the highest level,” said Suantika. “Constant tremors can be felt.”

The exclusion zone around the volcano, which is 75 kilometres from the tourist hub of Kuta, has been widened to 10 kilometres, with people living in the exclusion zone being urged to evacuate.About 25,000 people living nearby the mountain have already left their homes and evacuated since Mount Agung first started to spew smoke Tuesday.

“Continuous ash puffs are sometimes accompanied by explosive eruptions accompanied by a weak sound of boom,” the National Board for Disaster Management said in a statement.

Farmers tend their crops as Mount Agung erupts in the background in Amed, Karangasem Regency, Bali, Indonesia, November 27, 2017. - Reuters

“The rays of fire are increasingly observed at night. This indicates the potential for a larger eruption is imminent.”

‘Keep calm’

National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho called for people to stay calm.

“As we have widened the exclusion zone, so the number of people evacuating will increase but we don’t have the latest data yet,” he told AFP.

“Most important is always to follow our instructions and keep calm,” he added.

Ash from Mount Agung has been covering villages nearby the volcano. Officials have distributed thousands of face masks to local residents.

The airport in Bali’s capital Denpasar, a top holiday destination that attracts millions of foreign tourists every year, has been closed.

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“Bali’s airport has indeed been closed. We’re still coordinating the next steps,” airport spokesman Arie Ahsanurrohim told AFP.

The closure is set to affect tens of thousands of passengers, he added.

The airport on Lombok island — also a popular tourist destination east of Bali — has been closed since Sunday afternoon as the ash from Mount Agung headed into that direction, but it reopened early Monday.

The Australian government put out a travel advisory Sunday instructing travellers to exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia and follow the instructions of authorities.

Mount Agung last erupted in 1963, killing about 1,600 people.

It rumbled back to life in September and authorities raised the alert to the highest level, forcing 140,000 people living nearby to evacuate.

The volcano’s activity decreased in late October and many people returned to their home as the alert was lowered to the second-highest level.

But Mount Agung started rumbling again last Tuesday.

The mountain sent smoke up into the air on Saturday for the second time in a week in what volcanologists call a phreatic eruption — one which is caused by the heating and expansion of groundwater.

Dozens of Balinese Hindus took part in ceremonies near the volcano on Sunday, offering prayers in the hope of preventing an eruption.

Officials later on Sunday said the activity could be a magmatic eruption — one which involves the decompression of gas and results in the spewing of ash — and advised people near the mountain to wear masks.

Mount Agung is one of more than 120 active volcanoes extending the length of Indonesia, which straddles the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Miss South Africa crowned new Miss Universe

Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters bested 91 other candidates to win Miss Universe title

Former Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere (right) crowns new Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters

Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters

Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters

Host Steve Harvey speaks to Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters

Las Vegas: South Africa's Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters was crowned the new Miss Universe in a pageant held in Las Vegas.

Nel-Peters, who recently earned a business management degree, bested 91 other women competing for the crown in the decades-old pageant held at The Axis theater at Planet Hollywood casino-resort. This year's edition had the most contestants ever.

 

Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters

The runner-up was Miss Colombia Laura Gonzalez. The second runner-up was Miss Jamaica Davina Bennett. 

Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters

Last year, Iris Mittenaere from France was crowned when the pageant took place in the Philippines.

Former Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere (right) crowns new Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters

Steve Harvey returns as the show's host despite botching the 2015 Miss Universe crowning.

Host Steve Harvey speaks to Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters

This year's judges include YouTube star Lele Pons and former judge on America's Next Top Model Jay Manuel.

Pakistan law minister resigns, cedes to protesters' demand

Zahid Hamid's resignation comes after negotiations with the rally organisers failed

Islamabad: Pakistan's law minister has resigned, caving in to protesters who have been demanding his ouster in a three-week-long rally near Islamabad.

Monday's development comes after negotiations with the rally organisers went nowhere.

 

Security forces held back from dispersing the protesters on Sunday, after a crackdown the previous day left seven dead.

Zahid Hamid's resignation will likely pave the way for supporters of the Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah party, which is behind the protest, to peacefully disband their sit-in at a key intersection on the edge of the Pakistani capital.

A passerby takes a selfie in front of a police prison van destroyed during clashes with police near the Faizabad junction in Islamabad, Pakistan November 26, 2017. - Reuters

The protesters demanded Hamid's resignation over an omitted reference to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in a parliamentary bill.

He had earlier apologised for the omission in the bill, saying it was a clerical error that was later corrected.

Climbdown

The government climbdown will be seen as an embarrassment for the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party ahead of elections likely in mid-2018, and underlines the power of religious groups in the nuclear-armed nation of 207 million.

Seven people were killed and nearly 200 wounded after a police bid to disperse protesters in Islamabad failed on Saturday, spurring demonstrators wielding sticks and iron rods to block key roads and motorways in other cities.

“Our main demand has been accepted,” Ejaz Ashrafi, spokesman of the Tahreek-e-Labaik group, told Reuters. “Government will announce the law minister’s resignation and we will end our sit-in today.”

Law minister Zahid Hamid handed in his resignation to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi “to take the country out of a crisis-like situation”, state-run news channel PTV said on Monday.

Abbasi would accept Hamid’s resignation this afternoon, media said, adding that shipping containers police had used to block off the main protest site were being removed.

Peaceful resolution

The government spokesman did not respond to requests from Reuters for comment.

The government called in Pakistan’s powerful military to tackle the protests after the police operation failed, but there was no sign of troops around protest camps on Sunday.

The military said the army chief in one telephone call had advised Abbasi to resolve the protests peacefully.

For the past two weeks, activists of Tehreek-e-Labaik blocked the main road into the capital, Islamabad, in a protest that blamed the law minister, Zahid Hamid, for changing the wording in an electoral oath.

Wording changed

The party says the words “I believe”, used to replace the clause “I solemnly swear” in a proclamation of Mohammad as the religion’s last prophet amount to blasphemy.

The government blamed the change on a clerical error and swiftly restored the original format.

Labaik, led by cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi, Labaik is one of two new ultra-religious political movements to reach prominence in recent months.

Labaik, which campaigns to maintain Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws, won a surprisingly strong 6 percent, and 7.6 percent, share of votes in two recent by-elections.

Kuwait stresses no exception in applying new traffic rules

Complaints against uniformed abusers led to dismissal and prison terms

Kuwait has told all Ministry of Interior staff to ensure they fully comply with traffic laws, including wearing safety belts, not holding cell phones while driving and not parking on sidewalks and in no parking zones.

In a directive sent by Director General of the General Directorate of Monitoring and Inspection, Major General Mohammad Al Enezi to all sectors of the Ministry of the Interior, the personnel were told that they should set the example in the application of laws. 

 

He also warned them that any breach of the law would entail applying the related penalties, Kuwaiti daily Al Rai reported on Monday.

Kuwait this month toughened its laws in a new bid to improve traffic culture and avoid road chaos by impounding vehicles for up to months when a driver is caught not wearing the seat belt, holding a cell phone while driving or parking on pavements and in no-parking areas.

Despite heavy pressure from lawmakers to suspend the decision, the Ministry of Interior said that it would keep applying it, arguing that the number of offences has dramatically gone down since it was implemented.

The ministry expects its own staff to adhere to the law.

The directive was issued as statistics by the General Directorate of Monitoring and Inspection showed that 790 complaints had been filed against Interior Ministry staff since the beginning of the year.

The offenses included breaking military laws, not complying with military duties, using social media without permission, and complaints from citizens against employees of the Ministry of the Interior, which constitute abuse of power or misuse of power.

Actions against offenders included five cases of dismissal from the military service and the expulsion of an officer and members of the police force “because of the gravity of the offense that is contrary to the duties and responsibilities of security men and results in the undermining of their reputation in the community.”

The figures showed there were 10 cases of delay in promotion, seven cases of imprisonment for periods between 15 days and a month, and 19 cases in which salaries were reduced.

In some cases, servicemen were acquitted for lack of evidence or witnesses while in others, the complaints are still under investigation.

The statistics indicate that the number of complaints about misuse of social media has increased compared with last year.

Kuwait determined to promote safer driving culture

Authorities ready for options if impounding drive is halted

Traffic authorities in Kuwait said they would remain committed to taking strong action against dangerous offences if the current drive to impound vehicles for some violations is found unconstitutional.

The authorities this month started impounding vehicles for up to months when drivers fail to wear seatbelts, hold cell phones or park on pavements or no-parking zones.

Some lawmakers and lawyers criticised the move, insisted that the penalty for traffic offences should be gradual and threatened to take legal action.

However, the traffic authorities stated that they would not back down in their drive to make Kuwait’s roads safer for everyone and to make irresponsible drivers assume their responsibilities.

“We will naturally respect the decision of the competent authorities if they recognise that the current decision to impound vehicles is illegal or unconstitutional,” traffic sources told Kuwaiti daily Al Rai. “However, we will not hesitate to proceed to issue any resolution or legislation to stop flagrant violations and dangerous offences on our roads, and will not allow any disregard for human lives."

The sources added that the main objective of the decision to impound vehicles is to save the lives of the people and that the interior ministry would embrace any legal or constitutional move to protect people.

“The ministry has been listening to the views expressed by lawmakers and common citizens both supporting and criticising the issue. What really matters is that people become used to respecting laws, particularly that Kuwait roads demand full awareness and also a strict application of the law,” the sources said.

Despite strenuous efforts by the traffic authorities to instil a better driving culture and bring down an infamous world ranking in accident averages, official figures indicate that the task is formidable.

Traffic figures show that 917,447 accidents have occurred since 2012. There were 86,271 accidents in 2012, 89,527 in 2013, 99,047 in 2014, 77,961 in 2015, and 71,582 in 2016. The figure is 23,529 in the first four months of this year.

Accident deaths in 2012 were 454, going down to 445 in 2013, but increasing to 461 in 2014. In 2015, there were 429 deaths while the figure was 153 up to April in 2017.

Jumping red lights, excessive speed and the use of mobiles topped the causes of the accidents that occurred in 2017.

Recklessness and lack of responsible behaviour were also cited among the major causes of road crashes.

According to the National Traffic Strategy, the money spent by Kuwait to deal with accidents represents around 6 per cent of its annual gross domestic product.

More than 25,000 Kuwaitis, mostly relatives of those involved in accidents, are affected every year, the strategy prepared by an international expert, said.

ANNOUNCEMENT : Fire Department Calls for Caution during heavy rain

The Public Relations and Public Information Department in the General Directorate of Fire urged the citizens and residents to take precaution to be affected by the country with sporadic rain, sometimes with thunder, with activity of wind may reach speeds of more than 50 km / h.
 
The administration called on fishermen and hikers not to embark on sea voyages during the current period, while appealing to the weather to be monitored through the available channels to ensure the stability of the atmosphere.

The Department stressed that all the land and sea fire stations and airports have taken all their preparations and have been ready to face any emergency on the emergency telephone 112, wishing the Department of Public Relations and Information in the General Department of Fire Safety 

Authority confirmed that the Egyptian onion was not infected

The laboratory tests carried out by the General Authority for Food and Nutrition on samples imported from Egyptian onion showed its validity for human consumption to put an end to the controversy on this issue since the crisis of rising onion prices in the markets of Kuwait.

An official source in the Authority confirmed that the Egyptian onion was not infected with any pollution caused by the sewage water. "This is what has been proven after the chemical and bacteriological tests that showed its conformity with the specifications," pointing out that «the samples that were examined were random, Pomegranate and fresh cantaloupe.

Related image

TWO POLICEMEN FIRED AFTER MOCKING EXPAT IN VIDEO

Kuwait: Two policemen have been fired from the ministry after a video surfaced online recently showing two policemen mocking a British expatriate in a clip, the officer was summoned to face disciplinary measures.

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Qatari offer to host the Kuwait sets of the 2022 World Cup

  • Newspaper: Qatari offer to host the  Kuwait sets of the 2022 World Cup

The newspaper "Al-Jarida" quoted informed sources, that there are proposals reached the advanced stage, to host Kuwait groups of the World Cup 2022, scheduled to be held in the Qatari capital Doha.

The sources said that the meetings included officials from the two countries during the past months discussed the possibility of Kuwait's participation in the partial hosting of the World Championship in addition to the Sultanate of Oman, pointing out that the decision requires the approval of the International Football Association (FIFA), because the file did not include from the beginning division of groups On more than one state.

"There are positive signs from FIFA, but there are a series of measures that Kuwait must take, especially in terms of providing stadiums that meet the requirements of the International Federation, facilitating the entry of the masses and players to the country, moving between Kuwait and Doha and providing more than one flight Between the two countries, in addition to solving the problem of advertising in the stadiums, especially as some may not be authorized according to the laws of Kuwait, while the contracts have been agreed between the «Viva» and sponsors of the tournament, and companies announced and intermediate.

Kuwait, in turn, has begun to prepare for the possibility of partial hosting. Al-Jarida learned from diplomatic sources that Kuwait had asked Turkey about the possibility of establishing international stadiums in record periods.

The sources pointed out that the Turkish government informed Kuwait the possibility of building an international stadium, which can be 30 thousand spectators in two years only cost 20 million dinars, adding that Kuwait wants to build four international stadiums in cooperation with Turkey.

It expected the agreement to be between the Kuwaiti and Turkish governments directly to overcome the government bureaucracy in the country and the requirements of a local agent for Turkish companies.

There are technical comments at the Jaber Stadium to be repaired, to be among the venues that will host the event

3-mile-long 3200 Phaethon asteroid named after a Greek god who almost destroyed Earth will brush 'quite close' to our planet next month

A 3-mile (5 km) wide asteroid named 3200 Phaethon will brush past Earth just before Christmas.

The huge object is named after the Greek demi-god Phaethon, who according to legend almost destroyed Earth.

It will brush 'quite close' with Earth on December 17, Russian astronomers have shown.

A giant 3-mile (5 km) wide asteroid named 3200 Phaethon will brush past Earth just before Christmas. It will brush 'quite close' with Earth on December 17, Russian astronomers have shown (stock image)
 

Experts at the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University in Konigsberg, Russia, have published a video that tracks the path of Phaethon. 

The object, which Nasa has previously described as a 'potentially hazardous asteroid', will pass 6.4 million miles (10.3m km) from Earth - relatively close in space terms.

At 3 miles (5 km) wide, the asteroid is roughly half the size of Chicxulub, the rock that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Its unusual orbit will see it pass closer to the sun than any other named asteroid.  

3200 Phaethon has puzzled scientists because it has features of both an asteroid and a comet.

In one of its previous close encounters with Earth, scientists spotted dust streaming from the space rock that resembles the melting ice tails seen tailing most comets.

But Phaethon’s orbit puts its origins in a region between Mars and Jupiter where asteroids commonly originate.

Typically, icy comets come from colder regions of space beyond Neptune. 

In a statement, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University said: 'Apparently, this asteroid was once a much bigger object.

'But its many approaches to the sun have caused it to crumble into smaller pieces which eventually formed this meteor shower.

'If so, the asteroid itself could be the residue of a comet nucleus.

'The asteroid's extremely elongated orbit, thanks to which it sometimes gets to the Sun closer than Mercury and it sometimes moves away farther than Mars, is another argument in favour of this theory.'

The asteroid is named after the son of the Greek sun god Helios 'Phaethon' because it passes so close to the sun. 


Legend claims the young demi-god was challenged to prove he was related to Helios, who was said to pull the sun across the sky.

To prove his divine provenance, Phaethon rode his father's chariot, but was unable to control the horses, who then ran wild across the sky, dragging the sun with them.

Earth was almost destroyed in the ensuing chaos, which scorched the planet, burned vast amounts of vegetation and created the great deserts of Africa.

 

PHAETHON 

The asteroid is named after the son of the Greek sun god Helios 'Phaethon' because it passes so close to the sun.

Legend claims the young demi-god was challenged to prove he was related to Helios, who was said to pull the sun across the sky.

To prove his divine provenance, Phaethon rode his father's chariot, but was unable to control the horses, who then ran wild across the sky, dragging the sun with them.

Earth was almost destroyed in the ensuing chaos, which scorched the planet, burned vast amounts of vegetation and created the great deserts of Africa. 

Source: Mailonline

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