Flooding misery spread across Britain today as hundreds of people were evacuated, rail lines were blocked and a major incident was declared amid torrential rain.
Major rivers including the Thames and Trent broke their banks in places with the Environment Agency issuing more than 600 flood alerts or warnings in England.
Trains on Great Western Railway, Southern, South Western Railway and Southeastern were blocked today due to a mixture of flooding, landslips and trees on the line.
In East London, 50 people were evacuated after streets turned into rivers in Hackney Wick with ten fire engines and 70 firefighters called to the scene when water started racing down the banks of the canal into residential streets and ground floor flats.
And Nottinghamshire County Council declared a major incident ‘due to rising levels along the River Trent’, telling residents in flood-risk areas to prepare to evacuate.
Today, there were 302 flood warnings and 332 alerts across England as well as 13 alerts and two warnings from Natural Resources Wales – giving a UK total of 649.
Following 40 days of continuous rain, showers continued into this morning affecting parts of south-western and eastern areas as well as parts of Wales and Scotland.
But the weather is set to improve this weekend – with more settled, colder conditions moving in and bringing an increased chance of sunshine and frosty nights.
The highest rainfall totals recorded yesterday were 35.2mm (1.4in) at Otterbourne in Hampshire, with a range of 20mm (0.8in) to 30mm (1.2in) across much of the South.
The Environment Agency revealed more than 1,000 properties had been flooded this week in England, including hundreds overnight into this morning.
The agency’s executive flood director Caroline Douglass told BBC Breakfast: ‘We’re a country that’s wet and we always do get a lot of rainfall. Over November and December, following Storm Babet and Storm Ciaran, the ground was incredibly saturated right across the country, particularly in the east.
‘That’s been topped up over the pre-Christmas period. Rainfall from this week has just added to that, so there’s nowhere for the water to go. In that situation we get more flooding and greater impacts than we’ve seen and probably in areas where people aren’t used to it.’
The flooding caused significant delays and cancellations to trains today, with Great Western Railway warning of ‘major disruption’ until the end of the day.
National Rail said: ‘Great Western Railway are currently experiencing significant disruption on the network and customers are advised to please check your journey before you travel.
‘Flooding and a serious incident near Reading last night, which involved police taking control of the line, has left trains and crew in the wrong place. Short-notice cancellations and a reduced level of service on long-distance routes are expected throughout the day.’
Due to flooding, GWR lines were closed today between Swindon and Bristol Parkway; Reading and Castle Cary; and Liskeard and Looe.
Guinea’s military junta dissolves government, seals borders
Guinea, which is currently led by transitional President Mamady Doumbouya, is expected to hold elections to restore democratic rule in 10 months
Guinea’s military junta, which seized power in a coup in September 2021, has dissolved the government.
The announcement was made through a presidential decree read on state TV on Monday by the presidency’s Secretary General, Brig Gen Amara Camara.
Mr Camara did not disclose the reason for the dissolution or say when a new government will be put in place.
Ministers in the dissolved government were ordered to surrender their passports and official vehicles.
Their bank accounts have additionally been frozen.
The junta also instructed security agencies to “seal” all the country’s borders until government ministries have been fully handed over to the junta.
Lower-level officials will temporarily manage state ministries until a new government is appointed, Mr Camara said.
The dissolved government was led by Bernard Goumou, who had been appointed prime minister by coup leader Mamady Doumbouya.
In September 2021, Col Doumbouya led Guinea’s armed forces to overthrow elected President Alpha Condé, after a series of protests over Mr Conde’s controversial bid for a third term.
Guinea and several other countries in West and central Africa have been hit by coups in recent years.
Others include Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Gabon.
The coups have been strongly condemned by the West African regional bloc Ecowas, as well as the African Union and the UN.
Guinea is expected to hold elections to restore democratic rule in 10 months, when the 24-month transition period set by the junta and Ecowas expires.
Family Dispute: Man guns down father, brother, 10 other relatives
They said the man, who was not identified, used a Kalashnikov assault rifle and was later shot and killed by security forces in the south-central province of Kerman.
They said the cause of the shooting, in a remote rural village, was a family dispute. They did not elaborate.
Mass killings are rare in Iran, where hunting rifles are the only weapons people are allowed to possess. Two years ago, a dismissed employee of a state institution in western Iran shot and killed three people and injured five before killing himself.
Trump ordered to pay $355m for lying about his wealth in staggering civil fraud ruling
Judge Arthur Engoron’s decision after a trial in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit punishes Trump, his company and executives, including his two eldest sons, for scheming to dupe banks, insurers and others by inflating his wealth on financial statements. It forces a shakeup at the top of his Trump Organization, putting the company under court supervision and curtailing how it does business.
The decision is a staggering setback for the Republican presidential front-runner, the latest and costliest consequence of his recent legal troubles. The magnitude of the verdict on top of penalties in other cases could dramatically dent Trump’s financial resources and damage his identity as a savvy businessman who parlayed his fame as a real estate developer into reality TV stardom and the presidency. He has vowed to appeal and won’t have to pay immediately.
Trump’s true punishment could be far costlier because under state law he is also required to pay interest on the penalties, which James said puts him on the hook for a total of more than $450 million. The amount, which would be paid to the state, will grow until he pays.
The judge made clear, however, that the Trump Organization will continue to operate, backing away from an earlier ruling that would have dissolved Trump’s companies.
Engoron, a Democrat, concluded that Trump and his company were “likely to continue their fraudulent ways” without the penalties and controls he imposed. Engoron concluded that Trump and his co-defendants “failed to accept responsibility” and that experts who testified on his behalf “simply denied reality.”
“This is a venial sin, not a mortal sin,” Engoron wrote in a searing 92-page opinion. “They did not rob a bank at gunpoint. Donald Trump is not Bernard Madoff. Yet, defendants are incapable of admitting the error of their ways.”
He said their “complete lack of contrition and remorse borders on pathological” and “the frauds found here leap off the page and shock the conscience.”
Trump said the decision was “election inference” and “weaponization against a political opponent,” complaining to reporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida that he was being penalized for “having built a perfect company, great cash, great buildings, great everything.”
James, a Democrat, told reporters “justice has been served” and called the ruling “a tremendous victory for this state, this nation, and for everyone who believes that we all must play by the same rules — even former presidents.”
“Now, Donald Trump is finally facing accountability for his lying, cheating, and staggering fraud. Because no matter how big, rich or powerful you think you are, no one is above the law,” James said.
Trump still owns the Trump Organization, but he put his assets into a revocable trust and relinquished a leadership role when he became president in 2017, putting his sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr. in charge of day-to-day operations. Engoron’s ruling imposes a three-year ban on Trump serving as an officer or director of any New York company and bars his sons for two years, effectively requiring the company to find new leadership, at least temporarily.
The monetary penalties involve what Engoron said were “ill-gotten gains” that Trump attained by making himself seem richer. They include money Trump saved by securing lower loan interest rates and profits from the sale of properties that he might not have been able to develop without that financing.
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