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Hurricane Ian has knocked out power across all of Cuba, leaving 11 million people without electricity, after it slammed into the island’s western tip.

Cuba‘s Electric Union said power was initially knocked out for around one million people in the country’s western provinces, but later the entire grid collapsed.

The hurricane made landfall as a Category 3 storm on the island’s western end and devastated Pinar del Rio province, destroying some of the country’s most important tobacco farms.

Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated or had fled before Ian caused flooding and damaged houses.

The US National Hurricane Center said Cuba suffered “significant wind and storm surge impacts” when the hurricane struck with top sustained winds of 125mph.

A man carries two children in the rain in search of shelter after Hurricane Ian flooded their home in Pinar del Rio, Cuba (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
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A man carries two children in the rain in search of shelter after Hurricane Ian flooded their home in Pinar del Rio. Pic: AP

The hurricane was expected to get even stronger over the warm Gulf of Mexico as it approaches the southwestern coast of Florida, where 2.5 million people have been ordered to leave.

Residents and holidaymakers have been warned not to be complacent amid fears the hurricane could be upgraded to Category 4, with 140mph winds expected to affect the whole state.

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At an emergency briefing at the White House on Tuesday, Deanne Criswell, spokeswoman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said: “The storm surge is going to be significant, and you put 20 inches of rain on top of that….

“Take this very seriously, do not underestimate the potential this storm can bring.

“We are talking about impacts in parts of Florida that haven’t seen a major direct impact in nearly 100 years.”

Satellite image taken at 4:26 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, shows Hurricane Ian over the Gulf of Mexico (NOAA via AP )
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A satellite image of Hurricane Ian taken at 4.26pm EDT on Tuesday. Pic: NOAA via AP

Read more:
Hurricane Ian: ‘This is no joke’

Florida emergency declared with Ian set to strengthen

Ian is heading towards the Florida Keys, a popular holiday destination, made up of many islands, some less than a mile wide.

Debris hang on the street as Hurricane Ian passes through Pinar del Rio, Cuba, September 27, 2022. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
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Destruction in Pinar del Rio
News crews, tourists and local residents take images as high waves from Hurricane Ian crash into the seawall at the Southernmost Point buoy, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Key West, Fla. Ian was forecast to strengthen even more over warm Gulf of Mexico waters, reaching top winds of 140 mph (225 kmh) as it approaches the Florida...s southwest coast. (Rob O'Neal/The Key West Citizen via AP)
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People in Key West – and wider Florida – have been told to take the warnings seriously and shelter. Pic: AP

US President Joe Biden cancelled a planned trip on Tuesday and called mayors in three Florida cities to assure them federal support is ready to deploy food, fuel and shelter.

A total of 29 emergency shelters have already been set up by FEMA personnel sent to the state on Monday.

A vintage car passes by debris caused by the Hurricane Ian as it passed in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, September 27, 2022. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
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One of Cuba’s famed vintage cars is stopped in its tracks by Ian

Traffic builds along Interstate 4 in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, as Hurricane Ian approaches. (Willie J. Allen Jr./Orlando Sentinel via AP)
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Traffic builds along the interstate out of Tampa as people try to escape before the hurricane approaches. Pic: AP

Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, has declared a state of emergency and urged residents to prepare.

He warned of “broad impacts throughout the state” and said the weather system brought with it a risk of a “dangerous storm surge, heavy rainfall, flash flooding, strong winds, hazardous sea, and isolated tornadic activity”.

Flooding is predicted for much of the Florida peninsula midweek, and then heavy rainfall is possible for the southeast of the US later this week.

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Man sets himself on fire in protest area outside Trump trial

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Iran grounds flights across country after reports of explosions

A man has set himself on fire outside the courthouse in New York where former US President Donald Trump is on trial.

The man was in the designated protest area outside the courthouse.

It comes after jury selection for Trump’s hush money trial concluded with 12 people, and six alternatives, chosen to decide whether the former US president covered up payments to women who alleged they had affairs with him.

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Donald Trump labels hush money trial a ‘mess’ after jury selected

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Donald Trump labels hush money trial a 'mess' after jury selected

Donald Trump described the hush money case against him as a “mess” after the jury who will decide his fate has been selected.

Leaving the court in New York after proceedings were adjourned for the day, Trump addressed reporters, saying he was supposed to be in states like Georgia, New Hampshire and North Carolina as part of his campaign for the 2024 presidential election.

“[But instead] I’ve been here all day,” he said, labelling the trial as “unfair”.

Trump trial as it happened: Former president looks ‘bored’ in court

Trump held up a stack of news stories and editorials that he said were critical of the case while he continued railing against the trial.

“The whole thing is a mess,” he said.

It comes as all 12 jurors have been seated in the first criminal case against a former US president.

Former President Donald Trump speaks alongside attorney Todd Blanche as they return from a lunch break in his trial at Manhattan criminal court in New York on Thursday, April 18, 2024.  (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)
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Pic: AP

Members of the jury include a sales professional, a software engineer, an English teacher and multiple lawyers.

Sky News’ US partner network, NBC News reported there are seven men and five women on the jury.

It comes after lawyers grilled hundreds of potential jurors asking questions on everything from their hobbies and social media posts to their opinion of the former president.

More than half of a second group of prospective jurors were dismissed by Judge Juan Merchan on Thursday after most said they doubted their ability to be fair and impartial.

One juror was also dismissed after she said she “slept on it overnight” and woke up with concerns about her ability to be fair and impartial in the case.

The challenge now is to select six alternate jury members before the trial can move to opening statements, with Mr Merchan hopeful this will be completed on Friday.

Read more:
Judge warns Donald Trump over ‘intimidating’ potential jurors
Trump calls hush money case an ‘assault on America’

Donald Trump orders ’30 milkshakes at chicken restaurant

Trump is accused of criminally altering business records to cover up a $130,000 (£104,200) payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, during his 2016 election campaign.

Ms Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who was paid $150,000 (£120,000), both claim to have had affairs with Trump.

Stormy Daniels, seen here in January, received a $130,000 payment from Trump's lawyer Pic: AP/DeeCee Carter/MediaPunch /IPX
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Stormy Daniels. Pic: AP

His lawyers say the payment was meant to spare himself and his family embarrassment, not to help him win the election.

Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. He could get up to four years in prison if convicted.

The former president faces two other criminal trials accusing him of trying to subvert his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden, and another that accuses him of mishandling classified information after he left the White House in 2021.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.

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Boeing whistleblower claims 787 Dreamliner planes ‘defective’

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Boeing whistleblower claims 787 Dreamliner planes 'defective'

Crisis-hit Boeing has rushed to defend itself from fresh whistleblower allegations of poor practice, as the airline continues to grapple its latest safety crisis.

A Congressional investigation heard evidence on Wednesday on the safety culture and manufacturing standards at the company – rocked in January by a mid-air scare that saw an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 flight suffer a panel blowout.

One Boeing quality engineer, Sam Salehpour, told members of a Senate subcommittee that Boeing was taking shortcuts to bolster production levels that could lead to jetliners breaking apart.

Money latest: How to claim for pothole damage

He said of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, that has more than 1,000 in use across airlines globally including at British Airways, that excessive force was used to jam together sections of fuselage.

He claimed the extra force could compromise the carbon-composite material used for the plane’s frame.

“They are putting out defective airplanes,” he concluded, while adding that he was threatened when he raised concerns about the issue.

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Boeing quality engineer Sam Salehpour testifies during the Senate homeland security subcommittee hearing. Pic: AP
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Boeing quality engineer Sam Salehpour testifies during the Senate homeland security subcommittee hearing. Pic: AP

The engineer said he studied Boeing’s own data and concluded “that the company is taking manufacturing shortcuts on the 787 programme that could significantly reduce the airplane’s safety and the life cycle”.

Boeing denied his claims surrounding both the Dreamliner’s structural integrity and that factory workers jumped on sections of fuselage to force them to align.

Two Boeing engineering executives said this week that its testing and inspections regimes have found no signs of fatigue or cracking in the composite panels, saying they were almost impervious to fatigue.

The company’s track record is facing fresh scrutiny amid criticism from regulators and safety officials alike in the wake of the incident aboard the Alaska Airlines plane.

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What’s going on at Boeing?

It has become a trust issue again after the worst period in Boeing’s history when two fatal crashes, both involving MAX 8 aircraft, left 346 people dead in 2018 and 2019.

All 737 MAX 8 planes were grounded for almost two years while a fix to flawed flight control software was implemented.

A separate Senate commerce committee heard on Wednesday from members of an expert panel that found serious flaws in Boeing’s safety culture.

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Boeing CEO: ‘We fly safe planes’

One of the panel members, MIT aeronautics lecturer Javier de Luis, said employees hear Boeing leadership talk about safety, but workers feel pressure to push planes through the factory as fast as they can.

In talking to Boeing workers, he said he heard “there was a very real fear of payback and retribution if you held your ground”.

Pressure on Boeing to focus on safety has included restrictions placed on production, limiting its manufacturing output.

At the same time, it is still facing three separate investigations by the Federal Aviation Administration, the Justice Department and the National Transportation Safety Board relating to the panel blowout.

A management shake-up announced amid the inquiries will see the chief executive depart the company by the year’s end.

Sky News has approached British Airways for comment.

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