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Patel pledges six months in prison or big fines for motorway protesters

Patel

Patel pledges six months in prison or big fines for motorway protesters

Protesters disrupting motorways will face up to six months in prison or unlimited fines under plans to stop climate campaigners bringing traffic to a halt, Priti Patel will say this week.

The home secretary said she would amend new legislation to bring in tougher sentences and give police powers to seize equipment that protesters could use to lock themselves on to fixed objects.

In recent weeks the home secretary has applied for court injunctions to stop Insulate Britain campaigners from bringing motorways to a standstill. The current fines for blocking a highway are up to £1,000.

The injunctions and arrests have not stopped the activists, who are calling on the prime minister to “get on with the job” of insulating Britain’s “leaky” homes.

Before the announcement, Boris Johnson said: “This government will always stand on the side of the law-abiding majority and ensure the toughest penalties possible for criminals who deliberately bring major roads to a standstill.”

Johnson insisted the right to protest was “sacrosanct” but there was “no right to inflict chaos and misery on people trying to go about their lives”. He added: “We will give the police the powers they need to stop their reckless and selfish behaviour.”

The Tories are proposing to make the change through the police, crime, courts and sentencing bill, which will grant the police additional powers.

As well as the tougher sentencing, officers will get more stop-and-search powers to check whether protesters are carrying equipment such as handcuffs or glue that could be used in their protest to make them difficult to move. Police will also be able to remand protesters in custody rather than releasing them after charge.

Another change will be made to stop protesters being able to cause disruption on a road when it has been closed by police in order to prevent a demonstration.

Other crimes that typically carry a six-month sentence include a second offence of possessing a weapon or threatening with a weapon.

Patel, who has been a persistent critic of the Insulate Britain protesters, said the government “will not tolerate guerrilla tactics that obstruct people going about their day-to-day business”.

A spokesperson for Insulate Britain said the group “appreciates the
difficult position” that Patel is in and argued it too “shares her passion” for upholding law and order.

But the campaign group, which has seen dozens of its members arrested for blocking motorways in recent weeks, said the threat to society posed by the climate emergency was much greater than the threat of punishment from the government.

“We must face the reality Sir David King means when he says: ‘We have to move rapidly, what we do in the next three to four years will determine the future of humanity. Unless we make the transitions necessary, we are going to lose what we understand by our civilisation over the coming decades’,” the spokesperson said.

“We have a responsibility to the next generation to keep going until we get a meaningful statement from the government that we can trust. We hope that our sensible plan to start the process of decarbonisation in the UK will be considered as it gives best value for money on reducing emissions, will create hundreds of thousands of meaningful jobs and start to bring millions out of fuel poverty as we go into a fuel crisis. It’s win win. Why doesn’t Boris get on with the job?”

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Environment

Flood Kills 7, Displaces 2,800 In Kwara

Flooding in different parts of Kwara in 2022 has caused about 7 deaths.

This was disclosed by the managing Director, Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission, HYPPADEC, Abubakar Yelwa, on Sunday, September 25, in Patigi, Patigi Local Government Area of Kwara State.

He identified riverine communities in Patigi as the worst hit by the disaster.

Abubakar said 1,300 households and 2,800 persons were affected by the flood disaster.

He further revealed that large hectares of farmlands and houses were also submerged in Patigi.

The commission was in the area to assist the victims with relief materials.

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Environment

Tropical Storm Ian strengthens into a hurricane, heads toward Cuba, Florida

Tropical Storm Ian strengthens into a hurricane, heads toward Cuba, Florida

Forecasters say Tropical Storm Ian has strengthened into a hurricane as it moves closer to Cuba on a track expected to take it to Florida in the coming days.

Ian was forecast to intensify rapidly and become a major hurricane as soon as late Monday.

Authorities in Cuba suspended classes in Pinar del Rio province and said they will begin evacuations Monday as Ian was forecast to strengthen before reaching the western part of the island on its way to Florida.

A hurricane warning was in effect for Grand Cayman and the Cuban provinces of Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio and Artemisa. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Ian should reach the far-western part of Cuba late Monday or early Tuesday, hitting near the country’s most famed tobacco fields. It could become a major hurricane before a likely landfall in Florida around the middle of the week, possibly the state’s western coast or Panhandle.

Cuba state media outlet Granma said authorities would begin evacuating people from vulnerable areas early Monday in the far-western province of Pinar del Rio. Classes there have been suspended.

At 5 a.m. EDT on Monday, Ian was moving northwest at 13 mph (20 kph), about 90 miles (150 kilometers) southwest of Grand Cayman, according to the center. It had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph).

Meanwhile, residents in Florida were keeping a cautious eye on Ian as it rumbled ominously through the Caribbean on a path toward the state.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency throughout Florida and urged residents to prepare for the storm to lash large swaths of the state with heavy rains, high winds and rising seas.

Forecasters are still unsure of exactly where Ian could make landfall, with current models plotting it toward Florida’s west coast or panhandle regions, he said.

“We’re going to keep monitoring the track of this storm. But it really is important to stress the degree of uncertainty that still exists,” DeSantis said at a news conference Sunday, cautioning that “even if you’re not necessarily right in the eye of the path of the storm, there’s going to be pretty broad impacts throughout the state.”

Flash and urban flooding is possible in the Florida Keys and Florida peninsula through midweek, and then heavy rainfall was possible for north Florida, the Florida panhandle and the southeast United States later this week.

The agency placed a tropical storm watch over the lower Florida Keys on Sunday evening and has advised Floridians to have hurricane plans in place and monitor updates of the storm’s evolving path.

President Joe Biden also declared an emergency, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to coordinate disaster relief and provide assistance to protect lives and property. The president postponed a scheduled Sept. 27 trip to Florida because of the storm.

John Cangialosi, a senior hurricane specialist at the Miami-based center, said in an interview Sunday that it is not clear exactly where Ian will hit hardest in Florida. Residents should begin preparations, including gathering supplies for potential power outages, he said.

“It’s a hard thing to say stay tuned, but that’s the right message right now,” Cangialosi said “But for those in Florida, it’s still time to prepare. I’m not telling you to put up your shutters yet or do anything like that, but it’s still time to get your supplies.”

Local media in Florida have reported a consumer rush on water, generators and other supplies in some areas where residents moved to stock up on goods ahead of the storm.

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Environment

134 Dead, 76,887 Houses Destroyed As Flooding Hits Jigawa

Heavy flooding in Jigawa State has resulted in the death of 134 persons and destroyed 76,887 houses.

The deputy governor of the state, Alhaji Umar Namadi disclosed this when he hosted the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) official, Rahman Rihub Mahmud Fara on Saturday.

He said the state lost property worth more than N1.5 trillion to the floods.

A total of 22 roads and 11 bridges were completely washed away by the floods, he said.

The deputy governor said an entire village was also completely destroyed.

He said the flood affected 272,189 people, out of which 76,887 lost their houses.Mr Namadi said Kirikasamma and Birniwa local government areas are greatly affected.

UNICEF chief field officer in Kano, Katsina and Jigawa, Mr Fara, said they came to assess the situation and see what could be done to alleviate the suffering of the communities affected by flood in the state.

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