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New health alert as weekend temperatures to hit 30C in UK

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Last Updated on July 18, 2023 by Fellow Press

A heat-health alert has been issued for parts of England as temperatures are predicted to hit 30C (86F) over the weekend.

The alert is in place from 09:00 BST on Friday 9 June to 09:00 on Monday 12 June in London, the Midlands, eastern and southern England.

People are being asked to check on vulnerable friends and family.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) says the health and social care sector could be impacted.

This first alert – graded yellow – means this weekend, predicted to be hotter than Ibiza and Madrid, could affect the vulnerable including the over-65s and those with an underlying health condition.

Dr Agostinho Sousa, head of extreme events and health protection at UKHSA, said: “In the coming days we are likely to experience our first sustained period of hot weather of the year so far, so it’s important that everyone ensures they keep hydrated and cool while enjoying the sun.

“Forecasted temperatures this week will primarily impact those over the age of 65 or those with pre-existing health conditions such as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

“If you have friends, family or neighbours who you know are more vulnerable to the effects of hot weather, it is important you check in on them.”

The UKHSA also advises people to:
  • Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke and what to do if you or someone else has them
  • Keep out of the sun at the hottest time of the day, between 11:00 BST and 15:00
  • Exercise or walk your dog at cooler times of the day, such as in the morning or evening
  • Close windows and curtains in rooms that face the sun to keep your home cool
  • Cover up with suitable clothing if going outdoors, wear a hat and sunglasses, seek shade and apply sunscreen
  • Drink plenty of fluids and limit your alcohol intake

BBC Weather meteorologist Tomasz Schafernaker said some parts of the UK official heatwave threshold might be met in parts ofcentral and southern England this weekend.

In order for a heatwave to be declared, temperatures must be above the official heatwave threshold for at least three consecutive days.

He said: “Typically highs will reach the mid to high 20s widely across the country, but there is an outside chance of 30C in England. This is dependent on sunshine.

Last year was the UK’s warmest ever – Coningsby, in Lincolnshire, reached a record 40.3C on 19 July.

The UKHSA expects heatwaves are “likely to occur more often, be more intense and last longer in the years and decades ahead”.

The new colour-coded alert system, launched last week, is run by the UKHSA and the Met Office. It is aimed at reducing illness and deaths among the most vulnerable.

With climate change, heatwaves are likely to be more frequent.

There are two further alerts, not yet issued, representing more of a risk:

  • amber meaning the impact could affect the wider population and is likely to be felt across the whole health service
  • and red means a significant risk to life even for healthy people and a severe impact expected across all sectors

“The forecasts point to increasing amounts of cloud and the chance of thunderstorms which will have a bearing on the highest temperatures.

“Due to the increasing humidity the nights will also become uncomfortable over the weekend.”

Large parts of the country have seen little rain recently, with some areas in England not experiencing any rain since 11 May.

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Emmanuel Macron announces dissolution of National Assembly

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Last Updated on June 10, 2024 by Fellow Press

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced the dissolution of the National Assembly, following defeat of his party in 2024 European Parliament (EP) elections, according to local media report.

“I have decided to give you back the choice of your parliamentary future through the vote. I am therefore dissolving the National Assembly,” Macron said in a short speech.

“This is a serious, weighty decision. But it is above all an act of trust,” he added.

He added that the elections to the National Assembly are to take place in two rounds on June 30 and July 7.
Macron’s Renaissance party gained 15.2 per cent of the votes in 2024 European Parliament elections, far behind far-right National Rally who received 31.8 per cent.

“The unprecedented gap between the presidential majority and the leading opposition party reflects a stinging disavowal and rejection of the policies led by Emmanuel Macron,” RN President Jordan Bardella said after the EP elections results were unveiled, quoted by local media.

“We’re ready for it. I call on French people to join us in forming around the RN a majority in the service of the only cause that guides our steps: France.” parliamentary party leader of RN, Marine Le Pen, said Sunday evening on social media platform X.

The EP elections were held from June 6 to June 9, with voters of the 27 EU member states selecting 720 lawmakers to the 10th EP.

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UN adds Israel to blacklist

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Last Updated on June 10, 2024 by Fellow Press

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has added Israel’s military to a global list of offenders that have committed violations against children, his spokesman confirmed on Friday.

Israel had been told it is being placed on the list in the secretary-general’s annual report on children in armed conflict, to be sent to the UN Security Council next Friday, Stephane Dujarric told a press briefing.

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were also added to the list, according to a diplomatic source, along with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Dujarric added that the Israeli UN mission was called by Guterres’ chief of staff on Friday, a courtesy afforded to countries that are newly listed. “It is done to give those countries a heads-up and avoid leaks,” he said.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan recorded a video of himself making a phone call from his office, apparently to a UN official, and leaked part of it on social media.

In the video, Erdan expressed outrage at the UN decision, calling the IDF “the most moral army in the world.”

“The only one who is blacklisted today is the secretary-general, whose decisions since the war started, and even before, are rewarding terrorists and incentivizing them to use children for terror acts… Shame on him!”

Dujarric said it was “shocking and unacceptable” that Erdan had apparently published the private call, saying it was “something he had never seen in my 24 years serving this organization.”

Israel’s inclusion on the list comes after eight months of war in Gaza, in which more than 15,500 children have been killed, according to the Ministry of Health in the enclave.

The war was sparked by a Hamas-led assault on Israel on October 7, which killed 1,200 people and saw some 250 others taken hostage. Many are still in captivity and Hamas’ top leadership is still at large despite the Israeli onslaught.

The UN’s so-called blacklist has previously included countries such as Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian envoy to the UN, said the decision to add Israel to the list “will not bring back tens of thousands of our children who were killed by Israel over decades and will not restore normal life for the children who were permanently disabled by its actions.”

“But it is an important step in the right direction towards ending the double standards and the culture of impunity Israel has enjoyed for far too long and that left our children vulnerable to its consequences.”

The annual report will go to the Security Council on June 14. The official report will be published on June 18. It will be discussed at a debate in the council on June 26.

Asked about ramifications, the UN spokesman said it will be up to the members to decide any action.

The war has seen Israel-UN relations reach historic lows with Israeli diplomats using their platforms at the UN to denounce the world body.

Israel’s quarrel with the UN has gone beyond the secretary-general. Israeli officials have also criticized the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the World Health Organization, UN Women, and the UN’s Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories Francesca Albanese.

Meanwhile, dozens of UN staffers have been killed in Gaza since the conflict began, the largest loss in the world body’s history.

Israel has long accused UNRWA of anti-Israeli incitement, which UNRWA has repeatedly denied, and in 2017, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to dismantle the UN body, saying it should be merged with the main UN refugee agency.

Since the October 7 attack, Israeli journalists and news outlets have refocused their attention on UNRWA and have amplified stories questioning its role in the war.

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