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Bali’s Mount Agung volcano eruption latest news – where’s the Indonesian island and is it safe to travel there?

THE Mount Agung volcano in Bali erupted for the first time in more than half a century in November, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee the Indonesian island’s “danger zone.&#82…

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THE Mount Agung volcano in Bali erupted for the first time in more than half a century in November, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee the Indonesian island’s “danger zone.”

Hundreds of flights were cancelled and up to 120,000 travellers were stranded as huge plumes of thick, dark ash spewed high into the sky – here’s the latest from the Indonesian island.

A view of the Mount Agung volcano erupting in Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia, on Monday, November 27

AP:Associated Press 3 A view of the Mount Agung volcano erupting in Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia, on Monday, November 27

When did Mount Agung erupt?

The Bali volcano erupted for a second time in November sending a plume of volcanic ash and steam over 6,000 metres into the skies.

Indonesia issued a red aviation warning, with Lombok airport closed and scores of flights cancelled.

Virgin Australia cancelled all flights to and from Bali as a precautionary measure until conditions stabilise.

Indonesia’s disaster agency said Bali is “still safe” for tourists apart from a six-mile zone around the volcano.

Up to 100,000 people have been ordered to evacuate the area around the volatile mountain, which has been hurling ash thousands of metres into the atmosphere.

Government spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told a news conference in Jakarta that the danger zone affects 22 villages and about 90,000 to 100,000 people.

He said about 40,000 people have already evacuated but others have not left because they feel safe or don’t want to abandon their livestock.

On Monday, November 27, the alert level was raised to “stage four” as experts reported a large eruption was “imminent.”

When could the Bali volcano erupt and how much damage could Mount Agung cause?

What is the travel advice?

Ash from the volcano reached the Bali airport’s airspace, triggering its closure last week.

More than 400 flights to and from Bali were cancelled and up to 120,000 travellers were stranded.

Some flights were cancelled until after Christmas.

Travel disruptions rippled around the globe as the island is one of Asia’s top destinations, attracting five million visitors a year. December through the first week of January is one of the island’s busiest periods.

Villagers rescued by National Search and Rescue Agency are seen in a truck

Reuters 3 Villagers rescued by National Search and Rescue Agency are seen in a truck

Gushing ash has now dissipated into a wispy plume of steam, and Australian airlines that cancelled some flights to the Indonesian resort island on the weekend have returned to near-normal schedules.

Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency has said the volcano remains at its highest alert level but most of Bali is safe for tourists.

The exclusion zone around the volcano still extends six miles from the crater in some directions.

Airlines Jetstar and Virgin Australia, which cancelled flights over the weekend even as the ash cloud shrank dramatically, said they were resuming services.

A team of safety experts from Virgin Australia declared it safe for the airline to resume normal services – provided conditions remain favourable.

However, China’s aviation authority has suspended all flights from Bali to China until the ash clears – the state-run newspaper People’s Daily China has reported.

Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office is advising people to confirm their travel arrangements directly with their airline or travel agent.

Indonesian government volcanologists say Agung’s crater is about one-third filled by lava and there is still a high risk of more eruptions.

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Theresa May to defy Brussels and insist UK will start striking new trade deals immediately after Brexit

THERESA May will defy Brussels today to insist Britain will start striking new trade deals as soon as we leave the EU. Brexit tensions exploded afresh last night when No10 was also forced to slap d…

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THERESA May will defy Brussels today to insist Britain will start striking new trade deals as soon as we leave the EU.

Brexit tensions exploded afresh last night when No10 was also forced to slap down the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

 Theresa May set to defy Brussels over future trade deals Theresa May set to defy Brussels over future trade deals

Downing Street officials dismissed the veteran French politician’s claim  there is “no way” the UK will get the bespoke trade deal Mrs May has asked for as just an “opening salvo” from him.

Mrs May will fire two broadsides of her own today to hit back at a set of stringent initial rules proposed by EU leaders when they formally declared the start of Brexit’s Phase Two – transition and trade talks – on Friday.

One was that Britain must stick closely to all EU trade policy throughout the two year transition period after Brexit Day in 2019.

But in a statement to the Commons today, Mrs May will tell MPs: “During this period we will prepare for our future independent trade policy by negotiating – and where possible signing – trade deals with third countries”.

 No10 also slapped down Michel Barnier over bespoke UK deal claimsAP:Associated Press No10 also slapped down Michel Barnier over bespoke UK deal claims

Lucrative new deals with countries such as the US will then come into force the moment transition finishes in 2021.

Mrs May will also tee up a second flashpoint with Brussels, when she declares the Home Office will also start registering new arrivals from the EU during the transition period.

That will also irritate some Brussels hardliners, who will insist free movement to and from European states must continue exactly as it does now.

Laying down her terms for a swift three month negotiation of the transition period until March, Mrs May will add: “We would propose that our access to one another’s markets would continue as now”.

 The PM will hit back at a set of stringent initial rules proposed by EU leadersAFP or licensors The PM will hit back at a set of stringent initial rules proposed by EU leaders

In an interview with Prospect magazine, Mr Barnier tried to turn the screw on Mrs May yesterday by saying British voters had to “face the consequences of their own decision”.

He added: “They have to realise there won’t be any cherry picking.

“We won’t mix up the various scenarios to create a specific one and accommodate their wishes. No way.”

The EU negotiator’s fresh outburst was met with anger last night as it contradicts the more friendly positions taken by a number of EU leaders already – including Italy boss Paolo Gentoloni’s call last week for a tailor made deal.

Mr Barnier was also accused of straying well off his brief as EU leaders won’t hand down formal instructions to him on what sort of trade deal they want him to strike until March.

A No10 hit back: “We are only at the equivalent of base camp for the second phase of negotiations, with a long way to go”.

Philip Hammond angered Brexiteers yesterday by saying a transition deal would have to “replicate the status quo” for its two year duration.

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Who were the Birmingham crash victims and where is Belgrave and Lee Bank Middleway in Edgbaston?

SIX people were tragically killed when a horrific crash unfolded in Edgbaston, Birmingham. Now as authorities work to find out just what happened in the December 17 tragedy, tributes are flowing in…

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SIX people were tragically killed when a horrific crash unfolded in Edgbaston, Birmingham.

Now as authorities work to find out just what happened in the December 17 tragedy, tributes are flowing in for the lives claimed in the crash.

 Emergency services worked at the scene on December 17 after the crashCaters News Agency Emergency services worked at the scene on December 17 after the crash

Who were the Birmingham crash victims?

Six people were killed in the devastating crash just one week before Christmas.

Three men were among the fatalities, while a black cab driver and his two passengers, a man and a woman, were also killed.

The taxi driver has been named as dad-of-six taxi driver Imtiaz Mohammed, a 33-year-old who had picked up his final fare of the night.

His devastated brother Noorshad Mohammed remembered Imtiaz, who had six children all aged under 15, as a “legend”.

 Dad-of-six taxi driver Imtiaz Mohammed was described as a 'legend' by his familyGo Fund Me Dad-of-six taxi driver Imtiaz Mohammed was described as a ‘legend’ by his family

Tauqeer Hussain of Birmingham, believed to have been a passenger in an Audi, also died in the collision.

At a press conference, Chief Inspector of West Midlands Police Sean Phillips said that officers had identified all those involved in the crash.

 Tauqeer Hussain was one of the six people killed in the crash in Edgbaston, BirminghamCaters News Agency Tauqeer Hussain was one of the six people killed in the crash in Edgbaston, Birmingham

Where is Belgrave and Lee Bank Middleway in Edgbaston?

The tragedy unfolded just after 1am on Sunday, December 17 – barely a week before Christmas.

The three car pile-up occurred at the entrance to the underpass on Lee Bank Middleway near Edgbaston.

Edgbaston is a suburban area of central Birmingham, England.

Lee Bank Middleway was closed off for the majority the day, but reopened on Monday December 18.

 The horrific crash claimed the lives of six people in Edgbaston, Birmingham The horrific crash claimed the lives of six people in Edgbaston, Birmingham  Police are now investigating just how the crash unfolded Police are now investigating just how the crash unfolded

What have Midlands Police said?

Sgt Alan Hands from the force’s Collision Investigation Unit said: “We are currently dealing with a very serious collision and working with partner agencies to establish what caused this collision to happen.

“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies remain with the families of those who have very sadly lost their lives this morning and those who have been injured or caught up in this incident.”

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Fire crews battle huge blaze at Gateway to Wales Hotel in Deeside

A MASSIVE fire has ripped through a hotel on the Welsh border, forcing the evacuation of residents and staff. Dramatic footage posted on Facebook showed the roof of the Gateway To Wales Hotel in De…

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A MASSIVE fire has ripped through a hotel on the Welsh border, forcing the evacuation of residents and staff.

Dramatic footage posted on Facebook showed the roof of the Gateway To Wales Hotel in Deeside, North Wales, engulfed in flames after the blaze took hold in the early hours of this morning.

 The blaze ripped through the hotel in the early hours of this morningTwitter The blaze ripped through the hotel in the early hours of this morning

The hotel, understood to have around 40 rooms, appears to have been burnt to a shell, according to one witness.

Danny Lawton, who lives in new flats next to the hotel with his girlfriend and baby, said he was woken up by police banging on his door just before 5am.

The 24-year-old machine operator said: “We grabbed the baby and her stuff and headed downstairs, and the car park was already full of people. The heat coming off the fire was immense.

“The whole roof and top floor was on fire and the surrounding area was just full of smoke and flashing blue lights. There was a dozen or more fire trucks and police cars.

 The fire is filmed by passing motorists early this morningTwitter – Connahsquay22 The fire is filmed by passing motorists early this morning

“I was told to move my car as quick as I could as the heat would melt it – that’s how close it was.

“As far as I’m aware the fire has been put out and the building has burnt down to just a shell.”

People with nowhere to go were offered shelter in the fire station, Mr Lawton added.

More than a dozen emergency services vehicles including seven fire engines and four ambulances raced to the scene after the alarm was raised at around 4.30am.

Dashcam footage shows emergency services tackling fire at Gateway to Wales Hotel in Deeside

North Wales Fire and Rescue said in a statement: “Firefighters are currently in attendance at a fire at a hotel on Welsh Road in Deeside.

“They were called to reports of the fire at 4.27am this morning (Monday 18th December).

“Seven fire appliances, one from Flint, Mold, Buckley, Wrexham and Chester, and two from Deeside, together with two aerial ladder platforms from Wrexham and Chester are in attendance at the incident.

“On arrival, firefighters found the roof space of the building well alight and used four sets of breathing apparatus, two hose reel jets and two main jets to tackle the fire.

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