Travel News: How to find Black Friday deals for travel and attractions in Kansas City and beyond

As we work our way toward post-Thanksgiving shopping, you’re going to be bombarded with travel deals that sound so good you’ll want to plan a vacation around them, or scoop up the savings for a destination you already have plans to visit.

And that includes Kansas City staycations.

Travel deals are popping up for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday or the lesser-known Travel Deal Tuesday. These include price breaks and extra perks for purchases ranging from hotel rooms to airfare, tours, cruises, rental cars and tickets for events and attractions.

Before you buy do your homework. Read the fine print and research whether an advertised deal really is a bargain. You can do that by researching prices online. If you have a flight in mind, for example, go ahead and find out what airfare is now. Apps like SkyscannerGoogle Flights and Kayak let you set up price alerts.

As we work our way toward post-Thanksgiving shopping, you’re going to be bombarded with travel deals that sound so good you’ll want to plan a vacation around them, or scoop up the savings for a destination you already have plans to visit.

And that includes Kansas City staycations.

Travel deals are popping up for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday or the lesser-known Travel Deal Tuesday. These include price breaks and extra perks for purchases ranging from hotel rooms to airfare, tours, cruises, rental cars and tickets for events and attractions.

Before you buy do your homework. Read the fine print and research whether an advertised deal really is a bargain. You can do that by researching prices online. If you have a flight in mind, for example, go ahead and find out what airfare is now. Apps like SkyscannerGoogle Flights and Kayak let you set up price alerts.


Get an annual digital subscription for only $20. Act before it’s gone!

I’ve pulled together some of the local, regional, national and even a few international deals I’ve found online.


The Kansas City Zoo is offering buy one get one free ride wristbands on Black Friday for use that day, along with discounts on memberships and special pricing on an Adopt a Wild Child animal adoptions that can both be purchased online at

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is selling select tickets to several Kauffman Center Presents performances at 20% off. Use promo code GIFT20 at by the end of the day Dec. 2 to save on six events in 2020 from Squirrel Nut Zippers & Dirty Dozen Brass Band on Feb. 1 to writer/producer David Foster with singer/actress Katharine McPhee on May 19.

Sea Life Aquariums and Legoland Discovery Centers in Crown Center and across North America are offering up to 50% off their annual passes now through Cyber Monday. Find details at and

Union Station is offering $20 off a one-year annual membership, new or renewing, purchased Friday through Monday. Members can visit Science City, the Model Train Exhibit, KC Rail Experience and Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium, plus they get discounts to the traveling national exhibits hosted in the historic depot and other benefits. Use coupon code 5962619 at

Paradise Park, a family fun center in Lee’s Summit, is selling its family four-pack at 50% on Friday only. The package is four adventure day passes good for use by Aug. 1. Activities include go karts, rock climbing, mini golf, laser tag and more. Find the deal at


Several regional festivals are offering ticket discounts:

▪ Heartland Stampede, the new name of the annual country music festival Country Stampede that has moved from Manhattan to Topeka’s Heartland Motorsports Park, is selling $99 three-day general admission tickets starting on Black Friday. Use code BLKFRIDAY at The event is June 25-27, 2020, with headliners Luke Combs, Toby Keith and Cody Johnson.

▪ Dancefestopia has $99 three-day general admission passes this weekend only and might offer flash deals on Cyber Monday, too. Watch at for details on the electric dance music festival in LaCygne, Kansas, off U.S. 69, on Sept. 10-13, 2020.

▪ Roots N Blues Festival Oct. 2-4, 2020, in Columbia, has 20% off passes when you purchase a pack of four at before Jan. 3.

▪ True/False Film Festival March 5-8, 2020, in Columbia, is taking 10% off a limited quantity of passes on Cyber Monday. Use code cybermonday at

Musical Theater Heritage Theater at Crown Center is selling remaining tickets for “A Spectacular Christmas Show” performances between Dec. 5-10 at 25% off using code BlackFriday25 at Purchase now through 10 a.m. this Saturday.


If you have a destination in mind, Google the city and “Black Friday” or “Cyber Monday” to find available deals. Check directly with airlines, hotel brands you favor and attractions you like to visit.

To catch the flash deals available at airlines, follow your favorites on social media or sign up for their frequent flyer programs and accept their emails. Many steep discounts are limited to just a few seats, so shop the deals as early as possible for your best chances in nabbing a great airfare.

Another option is to set up airfare trackers for any flights you’re watching. Hopper, the online booking entity promoting Travel Day Tuesday, says that in analyzing 25 to 30 billion daily flight and hotel price quotes in its database, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving has consistently offered the most deals during this shopping period, including discounts on 20% of all domestic and international routes, with savings of up to 40%. You can see previews of some deals at

It hasn’t been formally announced, but industry experts expect Amtrak to run its Track Friday Sale for the fourth year. Last year the discount was 30% off nationwide train travel through the end of April with no blackout dates. The sale should start Friday and run through Monday at

The major cruise lines are offering deals but they are keeping them under wraps. Expect price discounts, stateroom upgrades and onboard credits. Sign up for alerts from Royal Caribbean at and keep tabs on Carnival Cruise Line at, or find your favorite cruise line.



One of the first travel promotions to land in my email inbox this season was an imaginative offer from Hotel Grinnell, a 43-room boutique hotel in a converted 1920s junior high school that we stayed at earlier this year on a trip to eastern Iowa. Book a two-night weekend stay at the hotel, not far off Interstate 80 in Grinnell, nearly midway between Des Moines and Iowa City, and you pay the temperature for the Friday night of your stay. So if it’s 30 degrees according to the National Weather Service report at 5 p.m. the Friday you stay, you’ll pay $30 plus tax and your Saturday night remains the booking rate. The deal is good for travel dates between now and March 1, and can booked at using “FRIGID!” as the promotional code.

Great Wolf Lodge in Wyandotte County, along with the brand’s 17 other family resorts featuring indoor water parks, is offering a Cyber Monday 48-hour sale. You’ll find up to 48% off on select rooms and nights for stays from Dec. 2 through Jan. 16. Use promo code CYBER48 at starting Monday.

Historic Elgin Hotel, a 13-room boutique property about 60 miles north of Wichita in Marion, opened its Parlour 1886 restaurant last month. The owners are running a promotion starting on Black Friday through Dec. 29 that scores anyone making a new overnight reservation on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday one free dessert in the restaurant. A two-night reservation any of those nights gives you a choice of either one free dessert or 20% off your dinner tab, excluding alcohol. Book at

The Fontaine, a 132-room boutique hotel on the Country Club Plaza, is offering 40% off stays between Dec. 2-Sept. 20, 2020, when you book direct. You must book between Dec. 2-8 and use promo code CYBER at

21c Museum Hotel has two brand-wide promotions, and there are eight of these contemporary art-focused hotels open (including Kansas City, Oklahoma City and Bentonville, Arkansas) with three more coming soon. A Black Friday flash sale will take 21% off best available room rates for stays through March 31, 2020 (except Chicago, which is opening this winter and allowing the discount bookings through the end of 2020). Book at from Friday through Sunday. On Cyber Monday only, you’ll get a $25 voucher to the 21c restaurant of their choice for every $200 gift card purchased. Visit on Monday for details.

The Skirvin Hilton, a historic hotel in downtown Oklahoma City, is offering a Black Friday deal that extends to Dec. 20. You can get a room for $109 per night for travel through Feb. 8. Use promo code P19 at or call the hotel and ask for the Holidays at Skirvin deal.

All Gaylord resorts are offering 30% off rooms and discounts on ICE! event tickets to encourage holiday travel over the next month. Only 250 room nights are available at this rate per location, with the closest being Gaylord Rockies Resort near Denver and Gaylord Texan Resort in the Dallas area. The sale starts at 8 a.m. on Monday and applies to select dates through Jan. 5. Find details at

Xanterra Travel Collection has more than a dozen brands that are offering discounts Friday through Monday ranging from up to 40% off stays in lodges at Zion, Grand Canyon, Death Valley and Yellowstone national parks to deals on cruises, bicycle tours and event tickets. Find links to all of the offers at

Nearly every hotel in Las Vegas seems to have a holiday deal. One example: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’s Double or Nothing offer is a buy one night get one night free. You have to stay at least two nights, so they actually discount each night 50%. Don’t forget you’ll also incur the resort fee most Vegas hotels charge. Book before Dec. 3 for select dates from Dec. 17 to March 4. Visit the offers tab at

Downtown Denver hotel The Curtis is playing off the city’s status as the mile high city by offering a limited number of rooms for $52.80 a night for stays through Feb. 29. Their deals start Friday and run through Monday at

Holiday Inn, Kimpton, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, Hotel Indigo and other brands with properties around the world under the InterContinental Hotels Group umbrella are offering up to 20% off select rooms and an additional 5% for travelers who are members of the free IHG rewards club. Book now to Dec. 17 for stays through May 31. Booking this deal requires non-refundable, full pre-payment for the entire stay. See full details at

Most national online travel agencies and booking sites are promoting heavy discounts for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, some of which have already started. Visit ExpediaHotwireBooking.comHotels.comPriceline and other travel websites and look for a link to these specials on the homepage. They often have guidance on how to best keep up with deals that will be announced throughout the weekend. Some require you use their app for deals, like HotelTonight.

File photo (March 20, 2019)  AP PHOTO

Cheapest holiday destinations for 2020 and the world’s most affordable escape

3 Dec, 2019 9:18am


Travel: How to find the cheapest flights

If you’re hoping to head overseas next year but have a tight budget, these are the cities you need to consider.

A British bank has analysed 35 of the world’s most popular cities where tourists spend the least amount of money per day — as well as the cities tourists should avoid if they’re on a budget.

London-based Starling Bank compared the costs of accommodation, food, transport and tourist attractions in 35 cities to determine the average price per day for a sightseeing visitor.

And the good news for Kiwis is: many of the cheapest spots are on our doorstep.

Many of the world's cheapest travel spots are on our doorstep. Photo / Ratish Gandhi

Many of the world’s cheapest travel spots are on our doorstep. Photo / Ratish Gandhi


According to Starling Bank, the cheapest spot to spend a day as a tourist is Delhi, India, where a full day of sightseeing will set you back about $56.49. That includes about $17.05 for food, $1.38 for public transport, $31.60 for accommodation and $6.42 for attractions in the capital territory.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you want to save some money, avoid New York City, where the average daily cost for a visitor is calculated at a whopping $358.41.


Delhi, India might be the cheapest break around at $56.49 for one day. Photo / Siddat Singh

Delhi, India might be the cheapest break around at $56.49 for one day. Photo / Siddat Singh

1. Kathmandu, Nepal: $40 for one day

Food: $15

Transport: $5

Accommodation: $10

Attractions: $10

2. Delhi, India: $56.49 for one day

Food: $17.05

Transport: $1.38

Accommodation: $31.60

Attractions: $6.42

3. Cairo, Egypt: $58.46 for one day

Food: $19.75

Transport: 99c

Accommodation: $20.71

Attractions: $7.93

Istanbul, Turkey: $71.04 for one day. Photo / Anna Ono

Istanbul, Turkey: $71.04 for one day. Photo / Anna Ono

4. Beijing, China: $83.58 for one day

Food: $21.07

Transport: $1.88

Accommodation: $47.99

Attractions: $12.65

Sydney, Santiago and Buenos Aires were deemed the places where the top attractions could be accessed for free.

They included the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House and Bondi Beach for Sydney, views of the Andes Mountains, Plaza de Armas and Santa Lucia Hills in Santiago, and the La Boca district and La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires.

Bangkok, where a plate of food and bottle of water cost as little as $3.46, was found to be the cheapest city to eat and drink.


1. New York City, USA: $358.41 for one day. Photo / Ryan Spencer

1. New York City, USA: $358.41 for one day. Photo / Ryan Spencer

1. New York City, USA: $358.41 for one day

Food: $98.01

Transport: $8.97

Accommodation: $219.96

Attractions: $31.47

2. Los Angeles, USA: $338.01 for one day

Food: $73.52

Transport: $5.73

Accommodation: $178.85

Attractions: $79.90

3. London, UK: $320.69 for one day

Food: $90.02

Transport: $10.00

Accommodation: $182.06

Attractions: $38.61

Miami, USA: $294.93for one day. Photo / Ryan Spencer

Miami, USA: $294.93for one day. Photo / Ryan Spencer

4. Miami, USA: $294.93for one day

Food: $73.52

Transport: $8.18

Accommodation: $168.57

Attractions: $44.65

5. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic: $292.19 for one day

Food: $31.21

Transport: $2.58

Accommodation: $149.54

Attractions: $108.86

South African Airways and Alitalia on brink of collapse

3 Dec, 2019 1:31pm

The future is uncertain for South African Airways. Photo / Getty Images

The future is uncertain for South African Airways. Photo / Getty Images

Two of the world’s major national airlines have hurtled closer to the possibility of going bust after a difficult weekend that’s left both with even more uncertain futures.

Italy’s flag carrier Alitalia and South African Airways, which flies to Perth, have been haemorrhaging money for years but a series of fresh blows have raised concerns of collapse for both.

On Friday, the South African arm of Flight Centre announced it would no longer sell tickets for South African Airways flights due a lack of faith in its future, while Alitalia, which has struggled for years with money woes, is in limbo again this week after a rescue plan fell through.

Now the airlines, both former symbols of national pride for both their respective countries, may be the latest flag carriers to crumble in the wake of low-cost competition, rising fuel prices and global economic uncertainty.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled during a week-long protest by South African Airways workers. Photo /Themba Hadebe, AP

Hundreds of flights were cancelled during a week-long protest by South African Airways workers. Photo /Themba Hadebe, AP

And they risk joining a long list of airlines that went belly-up in 2019, including the UK’s Thomas Cook and Flybmi, Iceland’s WOW and India’s Jet Airways.


Government-owned South African Airlines (SAA) and its lenders are in the midst of “intense conversations” today over how to fund the struggling national airline.

The carrier, the second-largest in Africa behind Ethiopian Airlines, hasn’t made a profit since 2011 and has been handed $5.75 billion in bailouts since 1994.

It came close to being brought to its knees last month during a crippling week-long staff strike against planned job cuts that led to hundreds of flights being cancelled.

South Africa’s Flight Centre Travel Group, one of the largest travel agents in the country, said its preferred travel insurer Travel Insurance Consultants and its underwriter, Santam, were

no longer willing to cover SAA due to “doubts concerning the long-term viability of the airline”, AFP reported.

“The risk associated with SAA’s going-concern status has been an issue for many years, however in light of recent events, the risk is now considered to be too significant by reinsurers to continue cover for new ticket sales,” Flight Centre said in a statement to its customers.

The airline has been unable to pay staff their full salaries this month and need a loan of two billion rand, or about $200 million, to stay afloat until March next year.

Today the South African government ministry overseeing SAA said the airline would not be able to continue in its present form and needed “radical restructuring” to stay afloat.

“Over the past few days there have been intense discussions with lenders to secure the necessary funds to cover the operational and structural transition over the next few months,” the ministry said.

SAA employs more than 5000 workers and its fleet of more than 50 aircraft fly to more than 35 domestic and international destinations, including Perth. It previously cut its flights to Sydney and Melbourne.


Meanwhile Alitalia, which is also burning through cash, hit a major snag after a consortium of potential buyers failed to make an offer before a deadline last week, prompting the Italian government to approve a 400 million euro ($650 million) bailout to keep the airline afloat for another six months.

Alitalia airlines has declared bancruptcy twice in the past 11 years. Photo / Miguel Angel Sanz

Alitalia airlines has declared bancruptcy twice in the past 11 years. Photo / Miguel Angel Sanz

Alitalia has been under special administration since 2017 and struggled for years with financial difficulty due to competition from low-cost rivals and Middle Eastern airlines, and the rising cost of fuel.

There was hope in a consortium of potential buyers including the company Atlantia, which operates Rome’s airports, along with Italy’s state railway operator, the Italian treasury and US airline Delta Air Lines. But their plans fell through last week.

“It’s evident that right now a business solution doesn’t exist,” Italian economy minister Stefano Patuanelli said at a Senate commission, Reuters reported.

On Monday Italy’s government approved a 400 million euro ($650 million) bridge loan to Alitalia that introduces “urgent measures” to assure the airline’s operations through to May.

But the loan risks breaking European Commission rules. The European Commision is already investigating whether a government bailout of $1.46 billion to Alitalia in 2017 could be considered state aid, which is regulated by the European Union to prevent unfair competition.

Alitalia lost $112.2 million in 2011, $455.3 million in 2012 and $943 million in 2014, Reuters reported.

The Italian Association for the Rights of Consumers and Users criticised the money the government has invested in the flailing airline.

“The abnormality about Alitalia is that it loses money when it flies,” the group said in a statement on Thursday.

“With the money wasted on Alitalia, the government could have bought six airlines, namely Air France, KLM, Turkish Airlines, Norwegian, Finnair and SAS.”

Meanwhile, unions have planned a December 13 strike amid concerns over Alitalia future and any threats to jobs.



Bangladesh Islamists sentenced to death for 2016 cafe attack

Police escort detainees accused of allegedly plotting the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe attackImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionEight people were put on trial accused of supplying weapons to the attackers

Seven Islamists have been sentenced to death for a 2016 attack on a cafe in the Bangladeshi capital in which 22 people, mostly foreigners, were killed.

The attack on the Holey Artisan cafe in Dhaka was carried out by a group of five men, who took diners hostage.

Eight people were on trial, accused of planning and supplying the attackers with weapons. One man was acquitted.

The 12-hour siege was Bangladesh’s deadliest terrorist attack. Most of the victims were Italian or Japanese.

The attack was claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group, but Bangladesh disputed this, instead holding a local militant group responsible.

Since the attack, Bangladesh authorities have led a brutal crackdown on militants it sees as a destabilising force in the predominantly Muslim country.

Public prosecutor Golam Sarwar Khan, speaking after the verdict was delivered, said the charges against the accused “were proved beyond any doubt”.

“The court gave them the highest punishment,” the prosecutor told reporters.

A defence lawyer said the seven men would appeal. Death sentences in Bangladesh are carried out by hanging.

Media captionInside Bangladesh terror attack cafe

The seven convicted men were accused of belonging to Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), an outlawed group.

Sentencing the men in Dhaka on Wednesday, a judge said they wanted to undermine public safety and create anarchy.

Some of the men shouted “Allahu Akbar” (an Arabic phrase meaning “God is greatest”) as they were led away from the packed courtroom, AFP news agency reported.

One of the suspected masterminds of the attack, Nurul Islam Marzan, was killed in a shootout with anti-terrorism police in January 2017, authorities said.

How did the attack happen?

On the evening of 1 July 2016, five gunmen burst into the Holey Artisan cafe in the upmarket Gulshan district of Dhaka.

Armed with assault rifles and machetes, the young attackers opened fire and took diners hostage at gun-point.

The attack saw victims inside the cafe, most of whom were foreigners, shot or hacked to death by the militants.

Media captionA Dhaka resident captured the sound of gunshots during the raid in 2016

Army commandos were called in after two police officers died trying to fight the militants.

After a 12-hour stand-off, the commandos stormed the building and rescued 13 hostages, killing all five militants behind the attack.

The casualties included nine Italians, seven Japanese, an American and an Indian. Family members and friends of the victims had gathered outside site of the attack, anxiously waiting for news.

The former location of Holey Artisan cafe is seen on the one year anniversary of the cafe attackImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe former location of Holey Artisan cafe, pictured here on the one year anniversary of the cafe attack

Bangladesh Army Brig Gen Naim Asraf Chowdhury said the victims had been “brutally” attacked with sharp weapons.

“It was an extremely heinous act,” Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in a televised address at the time. “What kind of Muslims are these people? They don’t have any religion.”

How did the authorities respond?

Officials say more than 100 Islamist extremists were killed and nearly 1,000 others arrested in a wave of operations that followed the attack.

Before that there had been a string of deadly attacks on secular writers, bloggers and member of religious minorities.

The security forces were subjected to intense criticism for failing to prevent the violence.

Bangladeshi soldiers stand guard in the capital DhakaImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionBangladeshi authorities have led a brutal crackdown on militants since the attack

There have been persistent worries over the authorities’ tactics.

The UN and others have blamed the security forces for enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings and use of torture.


#Visitnepal2020 #nepaltours

Hurricane Dorian: Scale of Bahamas devastation emerges

Rescuers have begun to reach areas of the northern Bahamas devastated by Hurricane Dorian, with aerial images showing a trail of destruction.

PM Hubert Minnis said some areas had been “decimated” and expected the current death toll of seven would rise.

The hurricane winds that hit the Abaco Islands equalled the highest ever recorded at landfall, and Grand Bahama also suffered severe damage and floods.

Dorian has moved off north but still threatens the eastern US seaboard.

Media captionWatch BBC Weather’s forecast amid concerns for Florida, Georgia and Carolinas

Although the hurricane has weakened to a category two storm with maximum sustained winds of 105mph (165km/h), it has grown larger in area.

What is the damage to the Abacos and Grand Bahama?

Mr Minnis confirmed the death toll had risen from five to seven, but added: “We can expect more deaths to be recorded. This is just preliminary information.”

It was “one of the greatest national crises in our country’s history”, he said.

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis addresses a press conference after Hurricane Dorian finally moved away from the island nationImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionPrime Minister Hubert Minnis addressed reporters after seeing devastation caused by the storm

Lia Head-Rigby, who runs a relief group and overflew the Abacos, said her representatives had told her there were “a lot more dead”.

“It’s total devastation. It’s decimated. Apocalyptic,” she told the Associated Press news agency.

Aerial images over the Abacos showed mile upon mile of destruction, with roofs torn off, scattered debris, overturned cars, shipping containers and boats, and high water levels.

Opposition leader Philip Brave Davis described the scenes from a flight over the islands as a “horrible sight”.

Parts of the Bahamas received up to 35in (89cm) of rain.

Responders evacuate a wounded person from the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas after Hurricane DorianImage copyrightREUTERS/JOHN MARC NUTT
Image captionWounded people have been evacuated from the Abaco Islands

The situation on Grand Bahama is less clear, as Dorian only moved on late on Tuesday after nearly two days of pummelling, cutting many communication lines.

Mr Minnis said major relief agencies had yet to get through.

Most rescue work was being done on an ad hoc basis by locals using boats and jet skis, but it was being hampered by flooded roads, fallen trees and submerged debris.

One survivor in Freeport on Grand Bahama, crab fisherman Howard Armstrong, told CNN floodwaters had reached the roof of his house and his wife “got hypothermia and she was standing on top of the kitchen cabinets until they disintegrated… I kept with her and she just drowned on me”.

Mr Minnis said: “Our priority at this time is search rescue and recovery. It will take all of us as a caring community – government, church, businesses and individuals – to help restore the lives of our people.”

People have taken to social media to post lists of those they have lost contact with during the storm.

The International Red Cross fears 45% of homes on Grand Bahama and the Abacos – some 13,000 properties – have been severely damaged or destroyed.

Some 60,000 people will need food aid and clean water, UN officials say.

A map from the Finnish satellite company ICEYE showed the extent of the flooding on Grand Bahama:

Map of flooding

Where is the storm now?

At 09:00 GMT, the National Hurricane Centre said Dorian was centred about 350km (217 miles) north-west of Grand Bahama and about 145km east of Daytona Beach in Florida.

It is moving north-northwest at 13km/h (8mph) and is expected to turn north on Wednesday evening, followed by a turn to the north-east.

Media captionHurricane Dorian rips into Bahamas
Presentational white space

The NHC said Dorian was expected to weaken over the next two days but would remain a powerful hurricane.

The storm would still move “dangerously close” to the Florida and Georgia coasts through Wednesday night, then the coasts of the Carolinas through Friday morning.

President Donald Trump tweeted that the US “may be getting a little bit lucky with respect to Hurricane Dorian, but please don’t let down your guard”.

Is climate change making hurricanes worse?

Scientists cannot say whether climate change is increasing the number of hurricanes, but the ones that do happen are likely to be more powerful and more destructive because of our warming climate, says BBC Weather’s Tomasz Schafernaker.

Here’s why:

  • An increase in sea surface temperatures strengthens the wind speeds within storms and also raises the amount of precipitation a hurricane will dump
  • Sea levels are expected to increase by one to four feet over the next century, bringing the potential of far worse damage from sea surges and coastal flooding during storms
Media captionHurricanes and climate change


Hurricane Dorian: Pleas for help as storm stalls over Bahamas

Residents of the northern Bahamas, some trapped on the roofs of homes, have sent out pleas for help after Hurricane Dorian stalled over the area.

Dorian fell in strength on Tuesday to category three, but Grand Bahama island faced at least another day of heavy rain, high winds and storm surges.

The storm killed at least five people when it hit the Abaco Islands at category five with 185mph winds.

The eastern US coast remains on alert for Dorian to move in that direction.

What’s the latest on Dorian?

The most recent update from the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) placed Dorian just north of Grand Bahama, home to about 50,000 people, having moved barely 20km (12 miles) in a day.

The NHC described Dorian as “stationary” with maximum sustained winds of 125mph (205km/h, marking it as a category three on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale.

But the NHC warned that the storm was still producing gusts up to 155mph and storm surges 12ft-18ft (3.6m-5.4m) above normal, and the agency advised residents to remain in shelter on Grand Bahama throughout Tuesday.

Media captionMatt Taylor with the latest forecast on Dorian

The winds at the core of the storm were spinning so fast that the centre of the storm was collapsing on itself, causing it to expand and damage a larger area, according to the BBC Weather service.

Steve McAndrew, of the International Red Cross, told the BBC he had been involved in rescue operations for 20 years and could not recall a hurricane ever being listed as stationary.

Palm Beach county in Florida – less than 100 miles to the west – saw gusts of up to 58mph on Tuesday.

How is Grand Bahama faring?

Eyewitness videos and reports painted a picture of massive and widespread flooding, with panicked families fleeing to their roofs to escape rising floodwaters.

The Bahamas Press showed video of the Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport under water, with patients forced to evacuate. The news site also relayed calls for help from residents trapped on roofs for hours.

Freeport resident Yasmin Rigby told the Reuters agency: “People who thought they were safe are now calling for help”.

The Bahamas international airport was reportedly under 6ft of water, while residents posting on Twitter said a church in Freeport had lost its roof and scores of people were in danger.

Another Twitter posting called for the rescue of an aunt and nine others from rising waters in the town.

Video posted on Twitter from Pine Bay showed the extent of the storm there.

Journalist Kyle Walkine tweeted that he was in a three-storey building “believed to be one of the strongest in Freeport, and it is shaking. But Dorian doesn’t want to move”.

Clint Watson, a journalist based in the capital Nassau, said people in Grand Bahama were being hit with “buckets of rain” and posting videos online showing water rising to the windows of their attics.

“You can’t fathom that but that’s what people are showing us with their videos,” he told the BBC. “And you can see the water outside pressing in. It’s stories like that and images like that that you can’t get out of your mind.”

One radio station told the Associated Press news agency it had received more than 5,000 distress calls.

What about the rest of the Bahamas?

The picture was clearer on the Abaco Islands after Dorian moved further west. The islands, with a population of about 17,000, bore the brunt of the storm. No hurricane had ever made landfall with greater wind speeds. Only the 1935 Labor Day hurricane can match Dorian’s 185mph.

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said on Monday that reports from the Abaco Islands suggested the devastation was “unprecedented”, calling the hurricane a “historic tragedy”.

Rescue operations were reportedly underway in areas it was safe to enter.

Neither the Abacos nor Grand Bahama are much higher than 40ft above sea level at their highest points. The International Red Cross said it feared wells may have flooded, making clean water unavailable. The organisation said 13,000 houses were feared damaged or destroyed across the nation.

Images from the capital Nassau to the south showed extensive flooding. Matthew Cochrance, a spokesman for the Red Cross, said aid workers were expecting “significant humanitarian needs” in the Bahamas once the storm passed.

Image captionPeople injured in the Abaco Islands are evacuated to Nassau

What about the US?

Forecasters said they feared Dorian would move “dangerously close” to the US east coast but on Tuesday the path of the storm remained difficult to predict.

The NHC said that only a slight deviation could bring Dorian directly over Florida’s east coast, which was already expected to face life-threatening storm surges and dangerous winds in the coming week.

Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina all declared states of emergency and there were mandatory evacuation orders across many areas.

Is climate change making hurricanes worse?

Scientists cannot say whether climate change is increasing the number of hurricanes, but the ones that do happen are likely to be more powerful and more destructive because of our warming climate, said BBC Weather’s Tomasz Schafernaker.

Here’s why:

  • An increase in sea surface temperatures strengthens the wind speeds within storms and also raises the amount of precipitation a hurricane will dump
  • Sea levels are expected to increase by one to four feet over the next century, bringing the potential of far worse damage from sea surges and coastal flooding during storms

Use our guide to see how these deadly storms form, their devastating effects and how they are measured:

Are you in the affected region? What preparations are you making for Hurricane Dorian? Email

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:


Hong Kong police storm metro system after protests

Hong Kong police have violently tackled suspected protesters after thousands of people marched in the city in defiance of a ban.

Images show police hitting people with batons and using pepper spray on a train in Hong Kong’s metro.

Police say they were called to the scene amid violence against citizens by “radical protesters”.

However it is unclear if all those injured and arrested in the metro system were involved in demonstrations.

People took to the streets on Saturday to mark the fifth anniversary of China’s government banning fully democratic elections in Hong Kong.

Protesters take part in an anti-government rally as they march on a street in Central districtImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionHong Kong has seen 13 successive weeks of protests

Protesters lit fires, threw petrol bombs and attacked the parliament building.

In response, police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon to disperse crowds, and fired live warning shots as they tried to clear the streets.

The latest protests came just a day after the arrest of several key pro-democracy activists and lawmakers in China’s special administrative region.

Hong Kong has now seen 13 successive weeks of demonstrations.

The movement grew out of rallies against a controversial extradition bill – now suspended – which would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial.

It has since become a broader pro-democracy movement in which clashes have grown more violent.

What happened in the metro?

During protests, crowds gathered by Prince Edward and Mong Kok stations in Hong Kong’s Kowloon neighbourhood.

Police said in a tweet they had responded at both sites after reports of “radical protesters” assaulting citizens and damaging property.

In a statement, Hong Kong’s government also said some protesters had “committed arson and “hurled miscellaneous objects and iron railings” on to railway tracks, “completely disregarding the safety of other passengers”.

Forty people were subsequently arrested for unlawful assembly, criminal damage and the assault of police officers, police spokesperson Yolanda Yu told reporters.

But several people complained of excessive force used by the authorities.

“The train stopped. Police boarded and hit me twice with a baton,” an unnamed man told the South China Morning Post newspaper.

“They didn’t arrest me. They were just venting their anger by hitting me.”

MTR, which operates the city’s metro line, told local media that three stations – Prince Edward, Mongkok and Kowloon Bay – had been closed as a result of the incident.

What else happened on Saturday?

Protesters took to the streets in the Wan Chai district, many joining a Christian march, while others demonstrated in the Causeway Bay shopping district in the pouring rain. Many carried umbrellas and wore face masks.

Media captionBlue-dyed water fired at protesters by Hong Kong police

Demonstrators – chanting “stand with Hong Kong” and “fight for freedom” – gathered outside government offices, the local headquarters of China’s People’s Liberation Army and the city’s parliament, known as the Legislative Council.

In the Admiralty district, some protesters threw fire bombs towards officers. Earlier, protesters had marched near the official residence of embattled leader Carrie Lam, who is the focal point of much of the anger.

Police detain a demonstrator in Hong Kong. Photo: 31 August 2019Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionA number of demonstrators were detained

Riot police had erected barriers around key buildings, and fired tear gas and jets of blue-dyed water from water cannon. The coloured liquid is used to make it easier for police to identify protesters.

Police later confirmed two officers had fired into the air during operations to clear protesters from the streets. Both officers fired one shot each when they felt their lives were threatened, the police department said.

Suspected protesters kneel on the ground at a Hong Kong metro station as police guard themImage copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES
Image captionSome were seen kneeling on the ground under police watch

Eric, a 22-year-old student, told Reuters news agency: “Telling us not to protest is like telling us not to breathe. I feel it’s my duty to fight for democracy. Maybe we win, maybe we lose, but we fight.”

The recent demonstrations have been characterised as leaderless.

Protest during anti-government rally in Hong KongImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionPolice fired tear gas to disperse the crowds

On Friday police had appealed to members of the public to cut ties with “violent protesters” and had warned people not to take part in the banned march.

Presentational grey line

A guide to the Hong Kong protests

Protesters with a makeshift street sign barricadeImage copyrightREUTERS


Hong Kong protests: Clashes as police fire tear gas into rail station

Police officers in Hong Kong stormed enclosed railway stations on Sunday, firing tear gas in an effort to force out protesters.

One video inside Tai Koo station showed officers firing what appeared to be non-lethal ammunition at close range.

It also showed several police beating people with batons on an escalator.

In the bustling central Wan Chai district, petrol bombs and bricks were thrown at police, who responded by charging at protesters.

A number of people, including a police officer, were injured in the clashes.

The protesters have started to adopt new tactics, striking in multiple areas in smaller groups before running when the police arrive, says the BBC’s Stephen McDonell who is in the city.

Hong Kong’s mass demonstrations and unrest show no sign of abating, more than two months after they were sparked by a controversial extradition bill.

What’s the latest?

On Sunday afternoon, a peaceful rally in the city’s Victoria Park led to clashes when protesters moved out of the area and marched along a major road despite a police ban.

There were confrontations in several central districts and police used non-lethal bullets in an attempt to disperse the demonstrators. Tear gas was fired in the busy shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui as well as in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island.

One image widely shared on social media showed a woman, who was reportedly shot by a police projectile, bleeding heavily from her eye.

Presentational white space

Tear gas was also fired into a metro station in Kwai Fong, and local media reported that it was the first time police had fired tear gas into an enclosed metro station to disperse people.

Presentational white space

Local media outlets reported that suspected undercover police officers had dressed-up as protesters to make surprise arrests on Sunday night.

Elsewhere, two petrol bombs were thrown at police and at least one officer suffered burns.

Media captionMother demonstrating: “I’m finding Hong Kong is getting not suitable for kids”

Sunday also saw the third day of a peaceful sit-in at Hong Kong’s international airport. There have been no reports of arrests there and flights are operating as scheduled.

Why are there protests in Hong Kong?

Demonstrations began in opposition to a proposed extradition bill, which would have allowed suspected criminals to be sent to mainland China for trial.

Critics said it would undermine Hong Kong’s legal freedoms, and could be used to silence critics.

Although the government has now suspended the bill, demonstrators want it to be fully withdrawn.

Media captionHong Kong demonstrators used lasers to create a light show in an anti-government protest

Their demands have broadened to include calls for an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, and the resignation of Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam.

Hong Kong is part of China but its citizens have more autonomy than those on the mainland. It has a free press and judicial independence under the so-called “one country, two systems” approach – freedoms which activists fear are being increasingly eroded.


North Korea missile launch ‘a warning to South Korean warmongers’

North Korea has called the test of two new missiles on Thursday a “solemn warning” against what it described as “South Korean warmongers”.

The short-range missiles were fired into the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, from Wonsan on North Korea’s east coast.

Leader Kim Jong-un said his country was forced to develop weapons to “eliminate potential and direct threats”.

He said the test involved a new tactical guided weapons system.

Mr Kim’s comments, reported in state media, come after the North criticised a decision by South Korea and the US to hold military drills next month.

North Korea has long regarded the drills as preparation for an invasion.

Though the US and South Korea have refused to cancel the annual military exercises, they have been scaled back significantly.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said one of the new missiles travelled about 690km (428 miles). The US also confirmed that the missiles were “short-range”.

What did Kim Jong-un say?

Mr Kim said he was “satisfied” with the new weapons system’s response and claimed it would “not be easy to defend against”.

He said that South Korea should “not make a mistake of ignoring the warning”.

South Korea has urged Pyongyang to stop acts that are unhelpful to easing tension and said the tests posed a military threat.

The US State Department urged North Korea to refrain from further provocations.

Presentational grey line
Analysis box by Laura Bicker, Seoul correspondent

Pyongyang is taking aim at Seoul – using both weapons and words.

The short range missile test yesterday puts the whole of the peninsula within range of a strike. Then there is the accusation that Seoul is “double dealing” – seeking peace while procuring new weapons and taking part in joint military drills with the US.

This language might sting a little after the South Korean President Moon Jae-in has worked so hard to develop a relationship with Kim Jong-un. Even Seoul’s offer to send rice to the impoverished North appears to have been spurned for now.

North Korea may be trying to test its influence over the South. It’s also a way of perhaps trying to split the positions of Washington and Seoul. The Moon administration has already argued for the partial easing of some sanctions to help build trust with on North Korea. A move the US will not consider.

Once again, Donald Trump receives no criticism in this statement. This has become a habit for Pyongyang. Mr Kim is keeping the door open for talks with the US president. He appears to want to deal with Mr Trump directly and he wouldn’t want to do or say anything to jeopardise that chance.

What is the context?

The test is the first since Mr Kim and US President Donald Trump met at the De-Militarised Zone, an area that divides the two Koreas, on 30 June.

The launch also comes after anger from the North over planned military exercises between South Korea and the US, an annual event. The North warned they could affect the resumption of denuclearisation talks.

About 29,000 US soldiers are based in South Korea, under a security agreement reached after the war ended in 1953.

Media captionThe nuclear word Trump and Kim can’t agree on

Last year, Mr Kim said North Korea would stop nuclear testing and would no longer launch intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Nuclear activity appears to be continuing, however, and satellite images of North Korea’s main nuclear site last month showed movement, suggesting the country could be reprocessing radioactive material into bomb fuel.

Pyongyang also continues to demonstrate its abilities to develop new weapons despite strict economic sanctions. Earlier this week Mr Kim inspected a new type of submarine, state media reported, which could be developed to carry ballistic missiles, according to some analysts.

A photo released by the official North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on 23 July 2019 shows Kim Jong-Un (C), speaking to officials after making a round of the newly-laid down submarine at an undisclosed location in North Korea.Image copyrightEUROPEAN PHOTOPRESS AGENCY
Image captionMr Kim spoke to reporters after inspecting the submarines

Pyongyang also conducted a similar short-range missile launch in May, its first such test since its intercontinental ballistic missile launch in 2017.

Mr Trump responded then by saying he believed Mr Kim would not do anything that could jeopardise his country’s path towards better relations.

He tweeted that Mr Kim “knows that I am with him and does not want to break his promise to me”.


Iran nuclear deal: Macron and Rouhani agree to look at conditions for talks

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) is shown nuclear technology by Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (9 April 2019)Image copyrightAFP
Image captionPresident Rouhani (R) inspecting nuclear technology earlier this year

France and Iran have agreed to look at conditions for resuming talks to try to save Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers, President Emmanuel Macron says.

During a phone call with President Hassan Rouhani, Mr Macron expressed his “strong concern” about the consequences of abandoning the 2015 accord.

Mr Rouhani called on European countries to act urgently to save the deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear programme.

The agreement has been in jeopardy since the US pulled out last year.

President Donald Trump later imposed punishing sanctions on Iran. In May, Iran responded by stepping up production of enriched uranium, used to make reactor fuel but also potentially nuclear bombs.

Iran has already stockpiled more enriched uranium than the country was supposed to. The country has been expected to announce on Sunday that it will breach another limit by taking the enrichment process to a higher level.

It is going to be hard – if not impossible – to get the Americans back on board, BBC Diplomatic Correspondent Jonathan Marcus writes.

The Europeans are struggling to do much to relieve the pressure on Iran from US sanctions and the fate of the nuclear deal itself is now more precarious than ever, he adds.

What did Macron and Rouhani say?

The French presidency published a statement (in French), saying that President Macron had spoken for more than an hour with his Iranian counterpart.

Mr Macron said he was very concerned about the “risk of a further weakening” of the treaty and “the consequences that would necessarily follow”.

The statement said the two leaders had agreed “to explore by 15 July the conditions for the resumption of dialogue between all parties” – beyond a Sunday deadline announced by Iran.

Mr Rouhani had previously given the five countries still party to the deal – the UK, France, Germany, China and Russia – until Sunday to meet their commitment to shield Iran from the sanctions’ effects.

The French statement also said Mr Macron would continue consultations with the Iranian side and international partners to reduce tensions.

Media captionThe BBC’s James Landale went to Tehran’s Grand Bazaar to see what people think of the stringent sanctions

President Rouhani urged the European signatories to act to save the deal.

“Lifting all sanctions can be the beginning of a move between Iran and six major powers,” Mr Rouhani said.

What is enriched uranium?

Enriched uranium is produced by feeding uranium hexafluoride gas into centrifuges to separate out the most suitable isotope for nuclear fission, called U-235.

Men work inside a uranium conversion facility outside Isfahan (30 March 2005)Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionPrior to enrichment, uranium ore concentrate must be converted into uranium hexafluoride

Under the deal, Iran is only permitted to produce low-enriched uranium, which has a 3-4% concentration of U-235, and can be used to produce fuel for nuclear power plants.

Weapons-grade uranium is 90% enriched or more.

The deal also restricted Iran to stockpiling no more than 300kg (661lb) of the low-enriched uranium.

A stockpile of 1,050kg, however, could be further enriched later into enough material to build one bomb, according to the Arms Control Association.

Iran strongly denies any intention to build nuclear weapons.

Map showing sites associated with Iran's nuclear programme


%d bloggers like this: