View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Sunday 18 April

Fairly bright and calm, with some slow-moving, wintry-looking showers about. Although London is getting up to 19C today, we're just managing to crest 5C / 41F at the moment.

No flights anywhere in the UK today, with a ban on flights now in place until midnight GMT tonight. Several airlines have sent research aircraft up to 40,000 feet to see what happens. All have returned to the ground safely, but the planes will be checked for damage, which may not be immediately obvious. It was explained this morning that flying through the pall of ash, currently lying over Europe, may not shut an engine down, it could cause irreparable damage. The volcano is still emitting ash, and the weather patterns appear to be unchanging.

Zimbabwe is celebrating 30 years of independence. Its revolutionary leader from 1980, Robert Mugabe, remains in power, having made a pig's ear of leading his country. After permitting inflation to reach eye-watering heights, wrecking the country's farming system and embarking on a systematic campaign of bullying, harassment and murder against white farmers, there is precious little to celebrate. A degree of economic stability has been achieved after a power-sharing agreement with the opposition, but things are still dire.
Below video was made in November 2007.