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Winter storm to dump up to six inches on the Northeast

Up to six inches of snow is expected for New York City and the Northeast this weekend, meteorologist..

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  • Up to six inches of snow is expected for New York City and the Northeast this weekend, meteorologists say
  • Winter Storm Benji will travel from the Gulf Coast into the region early Saturday and move out Sunday
  • The storm is expected during New York City's annual pub crawl, SantaCon, which thousands of revelers gather to celebrate

By Jessa Schroeder For Dailymail.com

Published: 18:54 EST, 8 December 2017 | Updated: 23:36 EST, 8 December 2017

Meteorologists are predicting up to six inches of snow in New York City and the surrounding areas this weekend as Winter Storm Benji grips the Northeast.

Up to six inches of the white stuff is expected to fall Saturday in some part of the Tri-State, especially up north into Connecticut.

One to three inches is expected in New York City where Christmas enthusiasts prepare for New York City's annual pub crawl SantaCon which sees thousands of people take to the streets dressed in Santa costumes.

As of Friday evening, snow has begun to fall across western and northern Virginia. More than four inches has hit near Danville.

Winter Storm Benji will travel to the Northeast Saturday morning hitting parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey, where the storm will sweep through I-95 corridor early afternoon.

Temperatures in New York City will drop to mid-30's Saturday and rise toward the end of the weekend.

Salt spreaders will be out early Saturday, while plow trucks will clear roadways after two inches of snow accumulate.

The snow storm will move out of the Northeast come Sunday morning.

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Winter Storm Benji will leave the south and travel to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast with moderate to heavy snowfall this weekend

Winter Storm Benji will leave the south and travel to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast with moderate to heavy snowfall this weekend

The storm in the south  extended from southern Louisiana into parts of Mississippi, Alabama and north GeorgiaThe storm in the south  extended from southern Louisiana into parts of Mississippi, Alabama and north Georgia

The storm in the south extended from southern Louisiana into parts of Mississippi, Alabama and north Georgia

Winter Storm Benji first swept through the Gulf Coast Friday, with Alabama getting hit the hardest with 10 inchesWinter Storm Benji first swept through the Gulf Coast Friday, with Alabama getting hit the hardest with 10 inches

Winter Storm Benji first swept through the Gulf Coast Friday, with Alabama getting hit the hardest with 10 inches

Meteorologists are predicting moderate to heavy snowfall for New York City and surrounding areasMeteorologists are predicting moderate to heavy snowfall for New York City and surrounding areas

Meteorologists are predicting moderate to heavy snowfall for New York City and surrounding areas

The storm marks the first of the season for the Northeast. It will move out of the region come SundayThe storm marks the first of the season for the Northeast. It will move out of the region come Sunday

The storm marks the first of the season for the Northeast. It will move out of the region come Sunday

 The storm will hit hardest through I-95 corridor by early afternoon in Northeast regions The storm will hit hardest through I-95 corridor by early afternoon in Northeast regions

The storm will hit hardest through I-95 corridor by early afternoon in Northeast regions

Along the I-95 corridor from Virginia to Massachusetts, winter storm warnings have been issued in Boston, Virginia, Salisbury, Maryland and Dover Delaware.

Neither Philadelphia, D.C. or New York City have not been issued with warnings at this time.

AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said: 'While a three to six-inch snowfall is most likely in New England, that sort of snowfall may extend all the way down to parts of New Jersey, Delaware, southern Maryland and central and southeastern Virginia.

'Temperatures will be a little lower in New England, when compared to Virginia, but there may be just as much moisture available on a straight line from eastern Maine to southeastern Virginia.'

Benji first swept through the Gulf Coast Friday and hit Alabama and North Carolina.

According to The Weather Channel the Highlands, North Carolina, received the most snow with 15 inches falling in the area.

A foot of snow was recorded in Fairview, North Carolina, near Ashville, and Henderson and Buncombe counties in western North Carolina has seen 7-12 inches of snowfall in the higher terrain.

Two to six inches are expected to accumulate in the Northeast early SaturdayTwo to six inches are expected to accumulate in the Northeast early Saturday

Two to six inches are expected to accumulate in the Northeast early Saturday

Temperatures in New York City will drop to mid-30's Saturday and rise toward the end of the weekendTemperatures in New York City will drop to mid-30's Saturday and rise toward the end of the weekend

Temperatures in New York City will drop to mid-30's Saturday and rise toward the end of the weekend

The weather forecast likely won't stop dedicated SantaCon goers – who have a reputation for making the most of the holiday tradition each year.

The holiday event takes place in as many as 380 cities in America and 51 countries, according to SantaCon.info.

Although it is held in several other locations around the world, New York is known to be the most widely celebrated.

The snow storm is the first of the season. Last winter season, Category 3 Winter Storm Stella occurred in MarchThe snow storm is the first of the season. Last winter season, Category 3 Winter Storm Stella occurred in March

The snow storm is the first of the season. Last winter season, Category 3 Winter Storm Stella occurred in March

A worker driving a plow removes the snow from the sidewalk on March 14, 2017 in New York CityA worker driving a plow removes the snow from the sidewalk on March 14, 2017 in New York City

A worker driving a plow removes the snow from the sidewalk on March 14, 2017 in New York City

The weather forecast likely won't stop dedicated SantaCon goers - who have a reputation for making the most of the holiday tradition each year (crowds are shown at the 2016 celebration)The weather forecast likely won't stop dedicated SantaCon goers - who have a reputation for making the most of the holiday tradition each year (crowds are shown at the 2016 celebration)

The weather forecast likely won't stop dedicated SantaCon goers – who have a reputation for making the most of the holiday tradition each year (crowds are shown at the 2016 celebration)

Last year, police swarmed the city as thousands of people dressed in red, white and green crowded together early Saturday and continued the bash into Sunday morning.

Police received numerous complaints about disorderly conduct during the pub crawl in recent years.

While no arrests were reported in 2016, '100 summonses were issued to people dressed like Santa Claus for offenses falling into the disorderly conduct category,' according to Patch.com.

These offenses include, but are not limited to: 'peeing in public, being overly drunk in public and drinking on the street.'

Police say SantaCon goers who are slapped with tickets can expect to appear in court and pay hefty fines.

The holiday event takes place in hundreds of cities around the world, but New York is known to be the most celebratedThe holiday event takes place in hundreds of cities around the world, but New York is known to be the most celebrated

The holiday event takes place in hundreds of cities around the world, but New York is known to be the most celebrated

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Australia: Scott Morrison saga casts scrutiny on Queen’s representative

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In the past fortnight, Australia has been gripped by revelations that former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison secretly appointed himself to several additional ministries.

The move has been labelled a “power grab” by his successor as prime minister, and Mr Morrison has been scolded by many – even his own colleagues.

But the scandal has also dragged Australia’s governor-general into the fray – sparking one of the biggest controversies involving the Queen’s representative in Australia in 50 years.

So does Governor-General David Hurley have questions to answer, or is he just collateral damage?

‘Just paperwork’

Governors-general have fulfilled the practical duties as Australia’s head of state since the country’s 1901 federation.

Candidates for the role were initially chosen by the monarch but are now recommended by the Australian government.

The job is largely ceremonial – a governor-general in almost every circumstance must act on the advice of the government of the day. But conventions allow them the right to “encourage” and “warn” politicians.

Key duties include signing bills into law, issuing writs for elections, and swearing in ministers.

Mr Hurley has run into trouble on the latter. At Mr Morrison’s request, he swore the prime minister in as joint minister for health in March 2020, in case the existing minister became incapacitated by Covid.

Over the next 14 months, he also signed off Mr Morrison as an additional minister in the finance, treasury, home affairs and resources portfolios.

Mr Morrison already had ministerial powers, so Mr Hurley was basically just giving him authority over extra departments.

It’s a request the governor-general “would not have any kind of power to override or reject”, constitutional law professor Anne Twomey tells the BBC.

“This wasn’t even a meeting between the prime minister and the governor-general, it was just paperwork.”

But Mr Morrison’s appointments were not publicly announced, disclosed to the parliament, or even communicated to most of the ministers he was job-sharing with.

Australia’s solicitor-general found Mr Morrison’s actions were not illegal but had “fundamentally undermined” responsible government.

But the governor-general had done the right thing, the solicitor-general said in his advice this week.

It would have been “a clear breach” for him to refuse the prime minister, regardless of whether he knew the appointments would be kept secret, Stephen Donaghue said.

Critics push for investigation

Ultimately, Mr Hurley had to sign off on Mr Morrison’s requests, but critics say he could have counselled him against it and he could have publicised it himself.

But representatives for the governor-general say these types of appointments – giving ministers the right to administer other departments – are not unusual.

And it falls to the government of the day to decide if they should be announced to the public. They often opt not to.

Mr Hurley himself announcing the appointments would be unprecedented. He had “no reason to believe that appointments would not be communicated”, his spokesperson said.

Emeritus professor Jenny Hocking finds the suggestion Mr Hurley didn’t know the ministries had been kept secret “ridiculous”.

“The last of these bizarre, duplicated ministry appointments… were made more than a year after the first, so clearly by then the governor-general did know that they weren’t being made public,” she says.

“I don’t agree for a moment that the governor-general has a lot of things on his plate and might not have noticed.”

The historian says it’s one of the biggest controversies surrounding a governor-general since John Kerr caused a constitutional crisis by sacking Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1975.

Prof Hocking famously fought for transparency around that matter – waging a lengthy and costly legal battle that culminated in the release of Mr Kerr’s correspondence with the Queen.

And she says the same transparency is needed here.

The Australian public need to know whether Mr Hurley counselled the prime minister against the moves, and why he didn’t disclose them

The government has already announced an inquiry into Mr Morrison’s actions, but she wants it to look at the governor-general and his office too.

“If the inquiry is to find out what happened in order to fix what happened, it would be extremely problematic to leave out a key part of that equation.”

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – Mr Morrison’s predecessor – has also voiced support for an inquiry.

“Something has gone seriously wrong at Government House,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“It is the passive compliance along the chain… that did undermine our constitution and our democracy… that troubles me the most. This is how tyranny gets under way.”

PM defends governor-general

Prof Twomey says the criticism of Mr Hurley is unfair – there’s was no “conspiracy” on his part to keep things secret.

“I don’t think it’s reasonable for anyone to expect that he could have guessed that the prime minister was keeping things secret from his own ministers, for example.

“Nobody really thought that was a possibility until about two weeks ago.”

Even if he had taken the unprecedented step to publicise the appointments or to reject Mr Morrison’s request, he’d have been criticised, she says.

“There’d be even more people saying ‘how outrageous!'” she says. “The role of governor-general is awkward because people are going to attack you either way.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has also defended Mr Hurley, saying he was just doing his job.

“I have no intention of undertaking any criticism of [him].”

A role fit for purpose?

Prof Hocking says it’s a timely moment to look at the role of the governor-general more broadly.

She points out it’s possible the Queen may have been informed about Mr Morrison’s extra ministries when Australia’s parliament and people were not.

“It does raise questions about whether this is fit for purpose, as we have for decades been a fully independent nation, but we still have… ‘the relics of colonialism’ alive and well.”

Momentum for a fresh referendum on an Australian republic has been growing and advocates have seized on the controversy.

“The idea that the Queen and her representative can be relied upon to uphold our system of government has been debunked once and for all,” the Australian Republic Movement’s Sandy Biar says.

“It’s time we had an Australian head of state, chosen by Australians and accountable to them to safeguard and uphold Australia’s constitution.”

But Prof Twomey says republicans are “clutching at straws” – under their proposals, the head of state would also have been bound to follow the prime minister’s advice.

“It wouldn’t result in any changes that would have made one iota of difference.”

 

Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-62683210

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Australia election: PM Morrison’s security team in car crash in Tasmania

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A car carrying the Australian prime minister’s security team has crashed in Tasmania during an election campaign visit.

Four police officers were taken to hospital with “non-life threatening injuries” after the car and another vehicle collided, authorities said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was not in the car, but the accident prompted him to cancel the rest of his campaign events on Thursday.

The other driver involved was not hurt.

Tasmania Police said initial investigations suggested the second car had “collided with the rear of the police vehicle, while attempting to merge”. It caused the unmarked security vehicle to roll off the road.

The two Tasmania Police officers and two Australian Federal Police officers were conscious when taken to hospital for medical assessment, the prime minister’s office said.

“Family members of the officers have been contacted and are being kept informed of their condition,” a statement said.

“The PM is always extremely grateful for the protection provided by his security team and extends his best wishes for their recovery and to their families.”

Australians go to the polls on 21 May. Mr Morrison – prime minister since 2018 – is hoping to win his conservative coalition’s fourth term in office.

Polls suggest the opposition Labor Party, led by Anthony Albanese, is favoured to win. However, Mr Morrison defied similar polling to claim victory at the last election in 2019.

Mr Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition holds 76 seats in the House of Representatives – the minimum needed to retain power.

Political observers say the cost of living, climate change, trust in political leaders, and national security will be among key issues in the campaign.

In recent weeks, the prime minister has faced accusations of being a bully and once sabotaging a rival’s career by suggesting the man’s Lebanese heritage made him less electable. Mr Morrison has denied the allegations.

Mr Albanese stumbled into his own controversy this week when he failed to recall the nation’s unemployment or interest rates.

Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-61103987

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Sydney airport warns delays could last weeks on third day of travel chaos

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Long queues at Sydney airport’s domestic terminals have continued for a third day, with some passengers missing international connections, as the airport warns delays resulting from a surge in travellers and a shortfall in security staff could continue for weeks.

Chaotic scenes were reported in the departure halls as early as 4.30am on Saturday, with some frustrated travellers, many of whom heeded the pleas of airport chiefs to arrive at least two hours before their domestic flight was due to take off, claiming only one security line was operating.

While the queues that formed early on Saturday are understood to have cleared later in the morning, the airport apologised to affected travellers.

“Traffic numbers are picking up and the close contact rules are making it hard to fill shifts and staff the airport. We appreciate your patience,” Sydney airport said on its Twitter account.

A wave of families travelling as the term two school holidays begin this weekend, combined with close contact rules that are understood to be taking out about 20% of security shifts in any given day, are driving the problem.

Certis, the company that Sydney airport contracts for its security operations, is desperately trying to recruit personnel, while the airport has reallocated back office, IT and retail workers to the departure hall to comb queues so they can prioritise passengers at risk of missing their flight.

“We are working around the clock to resolve these issues and have teams in the terminals bringing passengers forward in order of priority,” a Sydney airport spokesperson said.

He added that the airport is “anticipating it will [be] busy right through the school holiday period and peak over the Easter and Anzac Day weekends, in some cases at 90% of pre-Covid passenger levels”.

“We’re deeply grateful to passengers for their ongoing patience and we’re sorry to everyone who has been inconvenienced,” the spokesperson said. “We would also like to thank passengers for getting to the airport early and treating staff and each other with kindness and respect.”

The Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce was forced to clarify comments he made on Friday that passengers were “not match fit” and that those forgetting to remove laptops and aerosols from their bags at the security check contributing to the delays.

“Just to be clear, I’m not ‘blaming’ passengers,” Joyce said. “Of course it’s not their fault,” he said.

Qantas shed thousands of staff during the pandemic, and outsourced ground crews in a decision that was challenged in court.

On Saturday, Qantas also apologised to a Melbourne family left stranded in Sydney, after domestic flight delays caused them to miss an international trip.

Javiera Martinez, her partner Daniel Capurro and their three children were supposed to be flying to Chile on Friday to visit relatives they had not seen in three years.

But after their 8am Qantas flight from Melbourne was delayed by half an hour, baggage handling and airport transfer delays in Sydney meant they couldn’t make their 11.30am LATAM Airlines flight to Santiago.

Martinez said the airline’s procedures at the airport were chaotic.

“We think Qantas didn’t behave appropriately. I got berated by the person at the counter – they never apologised, they never assumed any responsibility at all,” she said. “It was a rude conversation. We have been mistreated badly I would say.”

The PCR tests they need to travel have now expired and they will have to take them again as they wait for seats on the next flight to Santiago from Sunday.

The airline has apologised and paid for a night’s accommodation in Sydney.

“We sincerely apologise that the family missed their connecting flight on another airline due to delays moving through Sydney airport on Friday,” a Qantas spokesperson said.

The family is among many affected by hold ups amid the busiest travel period in two years, with Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports warning passengers to arrive two hours before domestic flights.

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