Connect with us


‘The situation is critical’: Switzerland’s wild weather to continue



The thunderstorms sweeping across Western Europe have hit Switzerland hard, with thunderstorms and flooding in several Swiss cities and regions. 

Swiss officials warn that rivers and lakes are at their breaking point, especially in the north and west of the country. 

Swiss meteorological organisation MeteoSuisse says it has already rained more this July than any normal July in recorded history. 

The situation is particularly precarious in Lucerne, where Lake Lucerne is threatening to break its banks.

The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) has marked Lucerne with a Level 5 (very high risk) danger rating. 

According to the FOEN, a Level 5 event only occurs once every 100 years on average. 

The situation is also particularly serious in Oberkirch, where flood levels are high and railway lines, villages, cities and industrial plants are impacted by flooding. 

Lake Biel has reached its higher ever flood level, which authorities expect will go higher in the coming days. 

Where else is affected? 

Several other cities have been impacted by the floods. 

These include Bern, Zurich, Ligerz am Bielersee , Spiez am Thunersee and Frauenthal an der Lorze, all of which attracted the fourth danger level. 

Shipping along the Rhine in the Basel region has already been stopped, while train connections have been cancelled across much of the country. 

Municipal authorities have put in place a bathing and stand up paddling ban in Lake Thun, the Aare, Lake Wohlensee, the Zihl Canal up to Lake Neuchâtel and the Nidau-Büren Canal.

While a bathing ban might seem unnecessary, obviously one elderly bather in Lake Zurich didn’t think so. 

Further rain is expected in the coming days in central and eastern Switzerland. 

The city centre in Nidwalden is also affected. 

What is happening next? 

The federal government has forecast a continuation of the situation in coming days. 

The Federal Office for the Environment expects an additional 60 and 80 millimeters of rain in the affected areas over the coming days. 

President Guy Parmelin said “the storms devastating our country are worrying”. 

Parmelin took to Twitter after visiting Lake Biel. 

“I am close to Lake Biel, whose level has exceeded the flooding threshold this morning and is still rising. I could see with my own eyes how critical the situation is.”

What to do in the case of flooding or natural disasters in Switzerland

Swiss authorities encourage people to remain calm and to avoid taking risks during floods, such as crossing flooded water ways in cars. 

People wanting to stay up to date with the latest danger warnings can be informed through the AlertSwiss app or the MeteoSwiss app. 

These apps provide up to date information on the weather and any possible dangers. 

Other sites to follow to stay up to date is the government’s natural hazards portal, which shows the most dangerous areas for floodwater, and provides upcoming forecasts. 

You can also find several important emergency numbers at the following link. 

READ MORE: Nine Swiss phone numbers you should never forget

Source link


Germany’s flood zones spared severe storms on Saturday



In the west of the country, the fire brigade reported a quiet night in the flood areas in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine Westphalia.

The situation remains tense, however, with local thunderstorms forecast in some parts of Germany from midday on Sunday — most likely south of the Danube.

Further heavy rain and hail were also possible again, according to the German Weather Service (DWD), which publishes storm warnings.

READ ALSO: WEATHER: German flood zones at risk of further storms

The latest storms came just days after parts of the country were hit by devastating floods after torrential rains that ravaged entire villages and left 180 people dead, hundreds injured and with many still missing.

The flooding also caused damage in Belgium, where 37 people died, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Source link

Continue Reading


Prosecutors allege R Kelly had sexual contact with under-age boy



US prosecutors in R Kelly’s sex trafficking case say he had sexual contact with an under-age boy in addition to girls, and the government wants jurors in his upcoming sex-trafficking trial to hear those claims.

Federal prosecutors aired a wide-ranging raft of additional allegations – but not new charges – against the R&B singer in a court filing on Friday.

Jury selection is due to start August 9th in a New York federal court for Kelly, who denies ever abusing anyone.

The Grammy Award-winning singer is charged with leading what prosecutors call a criminal enterprise of managers, bodyguards and other employees who allegedly helped him to recruit women and girls for sex and pornography and to exercise control over them.

The charges involve six different women and girls, who are not named in court filings.

Now, prosecutors would also like jurors to hear about more than a dozen other people whom the government alleges that Kelly sexually or physically abused, threatened or otherwise mistreated.

Among them, the government says, was a 17-year-old boy and aspiring musician whom Kelly met at a McDonald’s in December 2006 and later invited to his Chicago studio.

According to the prosecutors’ court filing, after asking the boy what he would do to make it in the music business, Kelly propositioned and had sexual contact with him while he was still under-age.

And when Kelly was about to go on trial on child pornography charges in Chicago in 2008, the same youth told the singer he had access to a juror, and Kelly asked him to contact the juror and vouch he was a “good guy”, prosecutors wrote.

The filing does not say whether the youth did so. Kelly was acquitted in that case.

The boy also introduced Kelly to a 16- or 17-year-old male friend, with whom prosecutors say the singer began a sexual relationship several years later.

Kelly also filmed the two youths in sexual encounters with other people, including some of Kelly’s girlfriends, according to the filing.

Prosecutors wrote that the accounts of the boys and others would help show that the actual charges “were not isolated events and were part of a larger pattern”.

The multiplatinum-selling singer, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, is known for work including the 1996 hit I Believe I Can Fly and the cult classic Trapped In The Closet, a multi-part tale of sexual betrayal and intrigue.

Kelly’s private life has drawn scrutiny since the 1990s, and he currently is also facing sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota. He has pleaded not guilty.– AP

Source link

Continue Reading


Fears mount in western Germany as fresh rain falls



For some areas, the German Weather Service has forecast heavy showers or storms, bringing between 30 and 40 litres per square metre.

Amid further rainfall on Saturday afternoon, evacuation services to emergency accommodation were offered to communities in Rheinland-Palatinate who had been particularly badly affected by the flooding, German news site Merkur reported.

“The people will have to make the decision themselves,” said Begona Hermann, head of the relief teams in the west German state, explaining that the forecast rainfall was not expected to be as severe as that which devastated parts of Germany last week.  

READ ALSO: German floods death toll hits 180, with 150 still missing

However, even lower levels of rainfall could still be a problem because sewage and drainage systems were not working properly because of the flooding.

Earlier on Saturday, police requested all volunteers working on the clean-up operation in the Ahr area to leave as quickly as possible for their own safety because of the difficult conditions.

This came after the police and the crisis management team asked the public not to travel to Rhineland-Palatinate to help out because there were too many people there.

“The population’s willingness to help continues to be undiminished and overwhelming,” read a Kassel police statement on Saturday. Due to the large number of volunteers who came to help out, however, roads in the area are now congested, it said.

Heavy machinery required for road and bridge construction, and for the restoration of the area’s water supply, was getting stuck in traffic jams, the press release said.

Vehicles for removing rubbish and construction debris, as well as emergency and rescue vehicles, were also unable to get through.

Source link

Continue Reading


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!