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Residents flee threat of new lava flow from La Palma volcano

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Residents flee threat of new lava flow from La Palma volcano
Residents flee threat of new lava flow from La Palma volcano

Residents on the Spanish island of La Palma are tonight fleeing the threat of a new lava flow from the volcano.

Hundreds of people on La Palma in Spain’s Canary Islands have been awakened tonight in fear for their homes and property after a new lava stream from an erupting volcano threatened to engulf yet another neighbourhood on its way toward the Atlantic Ocean.

Island authorities had ordered the evacuation of 800 people from a section of the coastal town of Los Llanos de Aridane on Tuesday, October 12, after the lava changed course and put their homes in a path of destruction.

Around 6,000 people were immediately removed from the area in the hours after the initial Sept. 19 volcanic eruption when their homes and farms were directly below the path of the volcano’s initial lava stream.

Residents of the La Laguna neighbourhood were given just few hours to gather up their most precious belongings tonight and leave. Volunteers helped staff at a school in the neighbourhood salvage educational materials, while others loaded up cars and trucks with furniture.

Lava has so far completely destroyed over 1,400 buildings, including homes, farms and other structures, and covered 656 hectares (1,621 acres), including 90 hectares (more than 200 acres) dedicated to the growth of plantains. No lives have been lost.

La Palma is part of Spain’s Canary Islands, an Atlantic Ocean archipelago off northwest Africa whose economy depends on the cultivation of the Canary plantain and tourism.


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WATCH: Guardia Civil Unit taking down two suspected jihadists in Malaga

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WATCH: Guardia Civil Unit taking down two suspected jihadists in Malaga
WATCH: Guardia Civil Unit taking down two suspected jihadists in Malaga. image: guardia civil

WATCH: Video of Guardia Civil Unit taking down two suspected jihadists in Malaga city

Guardia Civil officers launched a counter-terrorism operation that lasted barely a few minutes from start to finish on Friday, October 22. As a result, specialised officers from the Guardia Civil’s Rapid Action Group arrested two suspected jihadists. This operation was carried out in the centre of Malaga city, on Spain’s Costa del Sol, in the middle of the afternoon.

Residents of the Lagunillas neighbourhood were stunned as a white undercover police van shot at full speed into the area and screeched to a halt. They then witnessed fully armed police officers wearing ski masks pile out of the vehicle and running at top speed into the small square located just off Calle Esperanza.

They immediately pounced on two unsuspecting individuals who were alleged jihadist terrorists and incapacitated them instantly. The suspects were thrown to the ground and handcuffed.

More than ten officers were involved in the whole operation, with several pick-ups also pulling into the vicinity. All the officers carried long weapons, wore ski masks and had bulletproof vests on, and proceeded to carry out searches of neighbouring buildings.

What at first looked like an anti-drugs bust clearly caused great expectation among the residents who witnessed the whole event. Boxes were seen to be carried out of one of the buildings and placed in the police vehicle.

The nationality of the two detainees has not yet been revealed. Neither the Guardia Civil nor the Ministry of the Interior have been able to offer more details about the operation because it still remains open, as reported by laopiniondemalaga.es.

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Using hazard warning lights to warn other drivers is a fineable offence

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Using hazard warning lights to warn other drivers is a fineable offence
Using hazard warning lights to warn other drivers is a fineable offence. image: guardia civil

The regulations laid out by the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) are not always as straightforward as we all think. An example of this is a driver who was recently fined for using his hazard warning lights to warn traffic behind him.

I am pretty sure we are all guilty of having done this at some point. When there is a sudden build-up of traffic in front of you, or if we are in any sort of situation where you know that warning the drivers behind will probably save you the problem of having one of them drive into the back of you. The initial instinct has always been to hit the hazard warning lights switch.

Be warned, this is a fineable offence according to the DGT. The man who got the fine was reminded of Article number 109, section 1.c, of the General Traffic Regulations. It states that if a vehicle comes to a sudden stop, or speed is significantly reduced, other drivers should be warned by repeatedly using the brake lights, or waving the arm up and down.

These are your only two options within the law of the road in Spain. No hazard warning lights! As for the penalty, it can be anything from €80 to €200. This higher fine can apparently be imposed in the event of you being seen to not give any warning at all to other drivers.

However, the DGT has clarified that the use of brake lights is an option, since the aforementioned article clarifies that it is “whenever possible”. For this reason, it is likely that, if the driver complains, he will be able to avoid paying the fine.

The regulation in question does establish a time when the emergency lights can be activated: It says that they can be turned on if “immobilisation occurs on a highway, or in places or circumstances that significantly reduce visibility”, as reported by laopiniondemalaga.es.

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Xmas bin collections at risk in Britain as lorry drivers quit council jobs

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Xmas bin collections at risk in Britain as lorry drivers quit council jobs
Xmas bin collections at risk in Britain as lorry drivers quit council jobs. image: creative commons

Xmas bin collections at risk in Britain as lorry drivers quit council jobs

The recent crisis surrounding the lack of HGV drivers is likely to have a detrimental effect on bin collection services during the Christmas period in Britain. This is shown in the latest figures revealed by the Local Government Association workforce survey. More than 50 per cent of the councils around England and Wales that responded to the survey are reportedly already suffering a shortage of staff.

With a shortage of drivers in the country, many are reportedly quitting their council jobs to take higher paid work in the food supply industry, where they can earn as much as £40,000 annually, as opposed to the £25,000 they make operating the bin lorries. This can lead to a serious problem for local councils if they don’t have enough drivers to man the dustbin collection lorries.

This scenario is already occurring in some parts of the UK, with residents in many towns reporting rubbish collections being delayed, or suspended. Driver shortages have led to overflowing rubbish containers as more council drivers go in search of better jobs.

According to the executive director of the Environmental Services Association, Jacob Hayler – who represents the UK’s waste management industry – right now, there is a 15 per cent vacancy rate in the waste contractor sector. Mr Hayler has urged the Government to speed up the rate of HGV lorry driving tests to avoid a crisis at Christmas.

“The UK is short of more than 100,000 HGV drivers, resulting in disrupted collections that will only come under greater pressure as we near Christmas – when waste volumes typically rise by 30%”, he stressed.

Stephen Atkinson, leader of Ribble Valley council in Lancashire is just one who spoke out, confirming that they lost six of their thirteen drivers last week. “We are maintaining a full service, but are seeing a huge turnover in drivers”, he said.

“There has always been a risk of drivers being poached, but we’ve never seen anything like this. We’re also having to collect more waste because of people working at home”, commented Alistair Dewhirst, deputy leader of Teignbridge council in south Devon. His department is short of eleven drivers in its usual team of 52.

The story is the same in many counties, where garden waste services have already been suspended. Waste collections in the North London borough of Haringey are likely to be delayed by as much as 72 hours, “Due to the effects national HGV driver shortages have on our operations”, said a council spokesperson.

Other London borough councils have apparently told residents that they will “Get to you as soon as we can”, blaming severe driver shortages for waste collection.

An initiative by Amey and Veolia, two of the biggest council waste services contractors involves offering a £1,500 bonus to drivers who are recruited for their waste collection services.

“The shortage of heavy goods drivers is having a profound impact. If you’re a driver you can go to the highest bidder and that is often the supermarket hauliers. It’s driving up costs for everyone”, is what Simon Ellin, chief executive of the Recycling Association had to say, as reported by theguardian.com.

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