Monday briefing: New Orleans in the eye of the storm again

Oggend almal. I’m Martin Farrer with the top stories this morning.

The entire city of New Orleans is without power this morning after Hurricane Ida crashed into the coast of Louisiana, ripping roofs from buildings, pulling up trees and even reversing the flow of the Mississippi river. One of the most powerful storms ever to hit the United States, Ida caused havoc in New Orleans with torrential rain and 150mph winds, and is expected to pose the biggest test yet for flood defences upgraded after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city exactly 16 jare terug. At least one person has died and seven are missing, while a million households are thought to be without power after a “catastrophic transmission failure”. President Joe Biden has declared a major disaster in Louisiana and ordered federal aid to supplement recovery efforts.

Although it has weakened in intensity to a category two storm with 110mph winds, Ida is expected to cause extensive damage as it heads north-east into Mississippi and onwards to Tennessee in the coming days. Follow all the developments in the storm at our live blog here.

Kabul attack – Anti-missile defences have intercepted rockets fired at Kabul airport as tensions and bloodshed escalate on the streets of the city ahead of the final US withdrawal tomorrow. The rockets were fired from a vehicle in north Kabul, a security official said, sparking the airport’s defences into action. The US military said it was “assessing the possibilities” of having killed or injured civilians in a military strike against a vehicle said to be carrying “multiple suicide bombers” from Islamic State’s local affiliate who were planning to attack Kabul airport. It follows a double suicide attack on the airport by Islamic State militants last week.

Boris Johnson and other world leaders have received assurances from the Taliban that foreign nationals and those with authorisation to exit Afghanistan will be free to leave the country. There are still a significant number of British citizens waiting at Kabul airport in the hope of being evacuated, despite the terror threats and the departure of all UK troops at the weekend. The UN security council is meeting to discuss the Taliban pledge today, while Dominic Raab will discuss the crisis at a US-chaired meeting with ministers from Qatar, Turkey, G7 countries and Nato. Afghans who have made it out, including about 2,200 children, have shown great dignity and stoicism according to Red Cross volunteers who have been meeting them off flights at Heathrow. US president Joe Biden travelled to Delaware earlier to witness the repatriation of the bodies of the 13 soldiers killed in a suicide attack last week.

Climate call – Almost two-thirds of over-50s believe the UK government should be doing more to address the climate crisis, even if it leads to goods and services costing more. More than two in three people said they had bought fewer clothes to cut down on waste in recent years, while half reduced their vehicle use and consumed less meat and dairy, according to a survey of 500 people older than 50. One in five said they only bought seasonal food, while half said they had reduced home energy use. Egter, another study showed midlifers would take an average of 14 years to see the financial benefits of greening their homes.

Give us a break – Union leaders are calling on the government to create four new public holidays to bring workers into line with other countries. England and Wales have eight public holidays, which is fewer than the 11 in Scotland and 10 in Northern Ireland. All EU countries have more public holidays than the UK, the TUC said, with Romania, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Finland and Cyprus topping the EU table with 15 dae.

Nuclear start-up – North Korea appears to have restarted a nuclear reactor that is widely believed to have produced plutonium for nuclear weapons, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Inspectors were expelled in 2009 but the IAEA uses satellite imagery to monitor activity at Yongbyon, a complex at the heart of North Korea’s nuclear programme. There were no signs of operation for nearly three years, the IAEA said in its annual report, but since July there have been indications, “including the discharge of cooling water, consistent with the operation of the reactor”.

Dram plan – A distillery on the Scottish island of Islay is aiming to use renewable power installed around the coast to produce the first net-zero scotch. Like many distilleries, Bruichladdich is powered by emissions-heavy fuel oil, which is delivered to the island by diesel-driven ferries. But Douglas Taylor, Bruichladdich’s chief executive, believes the net-zero plan could transform the island. “We have this view of ‘think big, start small, but start today’," hy het gesê.

The growth of non-fungible tokens has given rise to huge windfalls. Sirin Kale and Alex Hern explain all.

Frank Oz, the voice of Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy and Yoda, tells Hadley Freeman about playing some of the most memorable puppet characters of all time, the shocking death of his creative partner Jim Henson, and his next act as a comedy director.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær said Manchester United had not signed Cristiano Ronaldo to warm the bench and was adamant the Portugal forward will improve his team after watching them extend their unbeaten away run to a record 28 league matches following Mason Greenwood’s late winner at Wolves. Lionel Messi made his first Ligue 1 appearance, but Kylian Mbappé stole the show with both goals in Paris Saint-Germain’s 2-0 win at Reims. ParalympicsGB will be hoping for another golden day in Tokyo and you can follow all the action at our live blog hier.

Max Verstappen was declared winner of the Belgian Grand Prix after the required two laps were completed behind a safety car in the shortest race in Formula One history. Jonny Bairstow will keep wicket for England in the fourth Test against India, starting on Thursday at the Oval, following confirmation that Jos Buttler will miss the match to take paternity leave. Johanna Konta has opened up about her torrid, Covid-19-affected summer, during which she was withdrawn from Wimbledon on the eve of the tournament as a close contact of an infected team member. En Suzanne Wrack takes an in-depth look at the dedicated crew of people who helped the women’s national football team and others to flee the Taliban over two remarkable weeks in Afghanistan.

The Institute of Directors has joined a growing chorus of business groups calling for new, flexible visas that would allow foreign workers to step in to fill crucial roles, particularly as lorry drivers, after an exodus of workers due to Covid and Brexit. It criticised government plans to fix the problem with domestic workers, saying it would not work in the short term. The FTSE100 looks like opening flat while the pound is on $1.376 and €1.166.

Die Voog leads on “Taliban say they will allow more departures as US strikes Kabul”, while the FT has “US says drone strike foiled fresh attack on airlift”. Die Times leads with “Terror threat ‘worst in years’” and the Telegraph says “Afghan commandos could fight for Britain like Ghurkas”. “Home safe” is the splash headline in the Express, die i says “British troops arrive home – but war goes on”, and the Glasgow Herald has “Blame game over fate of UK nationals trapped in Kabul”. Die Mirror focuses on Covid with “Schools: the biggest test”, as does the Sun with a plea for readers to get vaccinated: “Jabs army 2”. Die Mail has “GPS who see only HALF of patients in person”, while the Daily Record leads with “Gangland gun victim dies”.

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