Brexit papers: What no deal could mean

Brexit papers: What no deal could mean

British passport

Another slew of technical notices aimed at providing guidance to the public and businesses on how to prepare for a no-deal Brexit were released by the government on Thursday.

Ministers say it is an “unlikely” scenario and the UK and EU are working on getting an agreement finalised.

But what detail has come out of the 28 papers?

Here is a summary:

Driving

If you have a UK driving licence, you have been able to use it to drive anywhere in the EU, for work or pleasure, as it is valid in all 28 countries.

But this could change if there is a no-deal Brexit.

The paper warns drivers that some EU states may require an international driving permit – which isn’t free – to be legal on their roads, as well as their existing licence.

And it could get even more difficult if you plan to permanently move to an EU country.

Existing rules mean a UK license can be swapped for a local one.

But a no-deal Brexit will mean this ends, and expats may need to take a driving test in their new country before getting behind the wheel.

Image copyright
Science Photo Library

Mobiles

Last year, travellers were delighted as Brussels quashed roaming charges for phones used inside the European Union.

Rather than massive bills for calling back home or posting snaps on social networks, the mobile networks were forced to treat use in other EU countries the same as if the customer was at home.

A no-deal Brexit means free roaming can no longer be guaranteed.

The government has tried to put minds at rest, saying it will legislate to include a cap on data roaming charges.

However, that is not quite the same as being able to use a UK phone in the EU with no additional costs.

Irish citizens

As the rules currently stand, UK citizens can cross the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic without any checks, and vice versa.

That is because of the Common Travel Area (CTA) – which allows for passport-free travel between the UK, Irish Republic, Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man.

But what happens if there is a no-deal Brexit?

The government has said there will be “no practical changes” to their approach and “no routine immigration controls on journeys from within the CTA to the UK”.

But with no deal agreed, it is not clear what the EU will say to that.

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PA

Passports

Ensure your passport is up-to-date is the message from this paper.

Anyone who wants to travel to the EU after Brexit is told to have at least six months left on their document – or they won’t be allowed to travel.

And those expecting to get their hands on a blue passport soon will have to wait a little longer.

Initially, burgundy will still be the colour of choice, although the cover will no longer carry the words “European Union”.

But if you want the blue passport, ministers say they will be issued in late 2019.

Firearms

Currently, EU citizens are allowed to travel with firearms between member states.

This requires a “European Firearms Pass”, and if you have one, you can go back and forth with it.

However, in a no-deal scenario, people from the UK will not be able to get one of these passes and will have to check with the country they are travelling to what the rules are.

The rules won’t change for EU citizens though, whose passes will still be accepted in the UK.

Safety standards for goods

One of the things offered by the EU’s single market are common regulations for goods.

It means, whether you have tomatoes from Spain or sausages from Germany, they all have to adhere to a strict set of rules for quality.

But, come 29 March 2019, there could be problems.

If there is a no-deal, goods from the UK would not be covered by the regulations and businesses wanting to export their products would have to check on legislation in each country before they sent them there.

Also, goods tested by a UK body – say cosmetics or bathroom products – would no longer be recognised by the EU, so would have to go through checks again – by a European Union-approved body – to make sure they meet the bloc’s minimum safety requirements.

Cars

As with food and make up, car manufacturers are going to face similar regulation issues.

If a car is made in the UK, or the parts are, a no-deal Brexit means firms will have to apply to the EU for what is called “type approval” – which shows they comply with EU safety and environmental standards.

Without this green light, they won’t be able to sell their cars and parts in the 27 member states.

The paper says that for a time-limited period, perhaps two years, the UK will automatically convert EU approvals into UK approvals – meaning there would be no problem for EU manufacturers wanting to sell their cars in the UK.

But, without a deal, there is no guarantee the EU would give Britain the same in return.

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Getty Images

Broadcasting

As it stands, broadcasters in the EU can show their channels in any of the member states, but they only have to come under the scrutiny of one.

For example, the BBC can show BBC programmes in France, but it only answers to Ofcom’s code, not the French equivalent.

This “country of origin” principle, however, will disappear with a no-deal Brexit.

That means broadcasters will have to abide by the regulations in each individual country they want to show their content in.

Personal data

You will remember earlier this year that inboxes were flooded with emails about “GDPR”.

The General Data Protection Regulation applies to all organisations that handle European Union citizens’ data.

When the rules came in, they gave consumers new rights, such as finding out what data is being held on them, and getting firms to delete that information, unless they had a good reason to keep it.

Part of the regulation also meant companies were only able to transfer personal data outside of the EU if there was a legal basis for doing so – but they could send it anywhere within the bloc.

The UK is going to keep the same standard, so there would be no immediate impact there.

However, if a deal wasn’t agreed, British companies could face problems getting data from member states, as they would no longer be party to it.

Environment/pollution

There is a lot of law that has been made in the EU when it comes to protecting the environment and, in turn, the health of citizens.

Targets to reduce air, water, and land pollution are set by the bloc, as well as emissions from vehicles and industry.

The UK has pledged to keep these standards, and perhaps raise them higher, but in a no-deal scenario, there may have to be interim measures while we wait for the government to get their new rules through Parliament.

Also, when it comes to products using damaging chemicals, the companies who make and sell them may need two different permits – one for the UK and one for the EU – giving them more red tape to wade through.

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Reuters

Drugs

Drug precursors are chemicals that can be used in the illicit manufacture of narcotics.

But they can also be used for more legitimate means, such as in medicines, perfumes or for plastics.

Trading these materials is easy enough as a member of the EU.

But if you are on the outside, it comes at a cost – a license to sell into the block that could cost thousands of pounds.

So, a no-deal would put firms in that position straight away.

Space

The UK is part of a number of joint European space programmes.

These include Galileo, a satellite project for GPS systems, Copernicus, which carries out earth observations, and EU space surveillance.

These are important for a range of UK businesses, from telecoms firms to universities.

But whilst the average smartphone user won’t feel the effect, companies, academics and researchers will no longer play a part in developing the systems and will be unable to bid for future contracts.

The government has promised to invest £92 million from its “Brexit readiness” to design its own UK Global Navigation Satellite System, but many in the sector have expressed fears of dropping out of the existing EU version.

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European Space Agency

Grants

The UK can apply for a number of different grants from the EU to fund projects across the country.

This can range from cash for transport projects and superfast broadband rollouts, through to help for disadvantaged communities, like schemes to create jobs or teach skills.

But if there is a no-deal Brexit, the cash these things rely on could be cut off early.

In July, the government promised to fund billions of pounds of programmes until the end of 2020 in the event of a no-deal.

But there will be some caveats involved, such as collaborations with other member states getting the axe, and changes in line with other public spending.

Business and investment

The EU has long held big companies to account when it comes to competition.

The idea is it stops companies abusing a dominant market position.

So, when Google was putting its own shopping service ads at the top of search results or when Microsoft promoted its web browser on computers running Windows, the EU gave levied hefty fines and imposed new rules.

The UK has seen those rules duplicated here – Microsoft introducing a Browser Choice Screen pop-up for example – but if no-deal happens, the same rules won’t apply.

The government says the UK Competition and Markets Authority will take on responsibility for this role, but it will not be bound by EU law – so outcomes could be different.

Shipping

We are an island, and as such, shipping has always played a key role in the economy.

But a no-deal Brexit could lead to some trouble on the high seas.

If a ship from a non-EU country wants to enter an EU port, it has to submit security information and get an exemption before docking.

Of course, members of the EU don’t need to worry about this.

But, a no-deal UK on the outside would have to apply.

The papers also reveal crew members from the UK may be affected as they would no longer hold the correct certificates to work on EU vessels.

The UK has said it will continue to recognise EU certificates for European workers on British boats – but it is up to the EU to reciprocate that.

US President Donald Trump’s Ireland visit cancelled

US President Donald Trump’s Ireland visit cancelled

US President Donald TrumpImage copyright
Reuters

A final decision has not yet been made on US President Donald Trump’s planned visit to the Republic of Ireland in November, the White House has said.

Earlier, an Irish government spokesperson said the trip had been “postponed for scheduling reasons”.

However since then the White House said the president will travel to Paris in November as previously announced.

“We are still finalising whether Ireland will be a stop on that trip,” spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

The White House had announced the visit earlier in September.

The US president was expected to visit his golf course in Doonbeg, County Clare, and Dublin on the weekend of 10-11 November.

Mr Trump is due to travel to Paris on 11 November for commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War One.

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A visit to Ireland was raised by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during his trip to the US in March

The office for Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar confirmed the November visit was cancelled and said the “US side has cited scheduling reasons”.

Politicians and activists in Ireland had indicated they would hold protests during Mr Trump’s visit.

Brendan Howlin, the leader of the Labour Party in the Republic of Ireland, said that Mr Trump was “no friend of democracy or human rights”.

The Green Party had called on the Irish government to cancel the visit.

Image copyright
PA

Image caption

Donald Trump owns Trump Doonbeg, a golf resort in County Clare

The US president owns a golf resort in County Clare, Trump Doonbeg, which he bought in February 2014.

He last visited Doonbeg in May 2014 and was due to visit again a few months before the US presidential election, in the summer of 2016, but later shelved the plan.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar invited Mr Trump to Ireland during a meeting at the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Washington in March.

In 2017, Mr Varadkar’s predecessor, Enda Kenny, also extended an offer for the US president to come and visit.

Thomas Cook boss flies to Egypt for talks on hotel deaths

Thomas Cook boss flies to Egypt for talks on hotel deaths

John and Susan CooperImage copyright
Facebook

Image caption

John and Susan Cooper died on 21 August

Thomas Cook’s chief executive has flown to Egypt to discuss the investigation into the deaths of a British couple with the country’s prime minister.

Peter Fankhauser will hold talks with Mostafa Madbouly in Cairo about the demise of John and Susan Cooper, from Burnley, Lancashire.

The couple died after they fell ill at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel in Hurghada on 21 August.

Egyptian investigators have said no traces of toxic gas had been detected.

A spokesman for the travel company said: “Thomas Cook CEO, Peter Fankhauser, has flown to Egypt to meet with the Egyptian prime minister, His Excellency Dr Mostafa Madbouly.

“They will discuss the recent tragic deaths of Mr and Mrs Cooper in Hurghada and the ongoing investigation by the Egyptian authorities.”

‘No real evidence’

The tour operator is hoping to obtain permission from the Egyptian authorities to access the hotel room where the Coopers were staying.

It has commissioned its own tests into food hygiene and air conditioning at the hotel, although it was not granted access to the couple’s room.

The results are due in the middle of next week.

Mr Fankhauser has previously insisted there was “no real evidence what caused the deaths” but pledged to “get to the bottom of it and to get to the cause”.

Mr Cooper, 69, died in his room, while Mrs Cooper, 63, a Thomas Cook employee, died after being taken to hospital.

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The couple’s daughter insists a strange odour in her parents’ room had something to do with their deaths

Following the deaths, the company said it was removing all of its 300 customers from the hotel and flew some holidaymakers back to the UK “as a precaution” amid “increased numbers” of guests falling ill.

Mr Fankhauser confirmed that 13 guests had food poisoning but none was in a serious condition.

Mr and Mrs Cooper’s daughter Kelly Ormerod told the BBC her parents were in good health when they went to bed on 20 August but she found them seriously ill the next morning.

She has insisted a strange odour in her parents’ room had something to do with their deaths.

However, Egyptian investigators said it has not detected any traces of toxic gas.

On Saturday, public prosecutor Nabil Sadeq confirmed all the installations were safe and the equipment was functioning without fault.

Storm Ali to bring high winds and rain across much of Scotland

Storm Ali to bring high winds and rain across much of Scotland

Weather map showing storm over UKImage copyright
earth.nullschool.net

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Storm Ali is expected to bring high winds and heavy rain to central and southern parts of Scotland

Much of Scotland is due to be battered by high winds and heavy rain as the first named storm of the season sweeps in.

The Met Office has issued weather warnings and said Storm Ali could bring winds of 80mph and a danger to life from flying debris.

An amber warning is in place for large parts of the country between 08:00 and 17:00 on Wednesday.

Travel disruption and huge waves in coastal areas are also expected.

‘Damage to buildings’

The amber warning covers central, Tayside, Fife, Grampian, south west, Lothian and Borders and the Strathclyde areas.

The Met Office said flying debris was likely as was damage to buildings from falling tiles, trees and branches.

It added: “Large waves could affect coastal roads, sea fronts and properties.”

Gusts of 65-75mph were expected inland, with winds reaching up to 80mph at times on high ground and in coastal areas.

A Scotland-wide yellow “be aware” warning is also in place between 06:00 and 22:00 on Wednesday.

The warning has prompted police to caution drivers of high-sided vehicles to consider whether they are safe to drive.

‘Drivers ignoring warnings’

Ch Supt Stewart Carle, head of road policing, said: “Previous incidents have clearly shown the dangers of driving vehicles vulnerable to being blown over in high wind conditions and the subsequent danger created for other road users, emergency services and recovery operatives where incidents have occurred due to drivers ignoring warnings.”

He added: “If you are driving a vehicle which may be vulnerable to being blown over in such conditions along exposed routes including bridges, please exercise additional caution and plan your route to avoid exposed areas or consider cancelling your journey until conditions improve.”

The Met Office tweeted about naming the storm.

It said: “Very strong winds and heavy rain will reach Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland during Wednesday. @MetEireann and @metoffice have just jointly named this system ‘Storm Ali’.”

Image copyright
Met Office

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The Met Office issued amber and yellow warnings

Scotland’s Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said the Scottish government’s resilience room would be active throughout Wednesday to monitor the wider impact of Storm Ali.

He urged motorists to check Traffic Scotland before setting off to make sure that their route was available.

He added: “The conditions are also likely to lead to disruption on other modes of transport, so we are urging people to take the weather into account if they are planning to travel on trains, ferries and flights.”

‘Emergency bunker’

Stein Connelly from Transport Scotland told the BBC: “We’ve been doing a lot of planning on this and have been working closely with the Met Office.

“We have called in our operating companies to look at what resources they have available. They have specialised resources – people trained with chainsaws and pumps to clear out drains and make sure there is no flooding.

“The amber warning covers from Dundee to the south. It covers the morning and evening peak, with the disruption expected to increase as the day goes on.

“Our advice is as always, plan your journey, be prepared and drive to the conditions.”

ScotRail said it was planning to run a normal service on Wednesday but urged passengers to check their journeys before setting off.

It also urged anyone who lives near the railway to secure any loose garden furniture.

A spokesman said: “We plan to run a normal service tomorrow across all routes. We’ll be keeping a close eye on wind speeds in real-time from our integrated control room.”

CalMac has cancelled a number of ferry sailings in the Western Isles and has warned of a “high likelihood of major disruption” across all of its routes.

Scottish Borders Council said it was opening its “emergency bunker” from 07:30 “to enable a co-ordinated response with partners” to Storm Ali.

The Dumfries and Galloway Virtual Operations Support Team (DGVOST) – involving council and emergency services – is also being activated. It uses social media and online updates to keep people informed of any major incidents in the area.

What the weather warning colours mean

  • Yellow: Severe weather expected. Yellow means you should plan ahead thinking about possible travel delays, or the disruption of your day-to-day activities.
  • Amber: Be prepared for disruption. There is an increased likelihood of bad weather affecting you, which could potentially disrupt your plans and possibly cause travel delays, road and rail closures, interruption to power and the potential risk to life and property.
  • Red: Extreme weather is expected. Red means you should take action now to keep yourself and others safe from the impact of the weather. Widespread damage, travel and power disruption and risk to life is likely. You must avoid dangerous areas and follow the advice of the emergency services and local authorities.

Why Sweden and China have fallen out so badly

Why Sweden and China have fallen out so badly

Screengrab of the show Svenska NyheterImage copyright
SVT

Image caption

Satirical programme Swedish News did a segment on Chinese tourists in last week’s episode

It’s a diplomatic spat no one saw coming, but tensions have over the past few weeks been escalating between China and Sweden.

It all started earlier in September when Chinese tourists were removed from a hotel by Swedish police, a move which was heavily condemned by the Chinese government.

But matters were made worse when a satirical Swedish television show joked about Chinese people eating dogs and defecating in public.

Beijing accused the show of using “vulgar language”, adding that it was “full of discrimination, prejudice and provocation” against China.

The Swedish broadcaster, on the other hand, said it would be “apparent” to a Swedish speaker that the show was “comedy”.

But how did both countries get here and could there be more to the feud than it seems?

How did this all this begin?

Earlier this month, a video emerged of Chinese tourists allegedly being thrown out of a hotel by police in Stockholm.

A Chinese man and his parents had allegedly arrived at the hotel at midnight – hours before they were due to check in. They asked to stay in the lobby but were refused, and eventually were forcibly removed by police.

In the video, the Chinese man is seen yelling in English “This is killing. This is killing”, while falling over dramatically. His mother is seen wailing and crying in Chinese, saying “help”, while police officers look on.

It was later posted on Chinese social media, where it has received millions of views and thousands of mixed comments. Some users criticised Swedish police for treating them so harshly, while others point out the family was unnecessarily “dramatic”.

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BTV

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Chinese national broadcasters, including Beijing TV, aired the footage

As the video spread, the Chinese embassy in Sweden demanded an apology from the government, saying that the police actions had “violated the basic human rights of the Chinese citizens”.

However, a manager from the hotel told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that the family had booked their rooms on the wrong day, and when they were told that, “refused to leave”.

Is that all?

No – things soon got worse. After a few weeks of silence, relations worsened on 21 September when Svenska Nyheter, a satirical television show aired on national Swedish broadcaster SVT, took a stab at Chinese tourists in general.

The show aired the video footage of the tourists being carried out of the hotel – and also included a sketch, which was dubbed over in Mandarin and uploaded to the Chinese video sharing site Youku – about do’s and don’ts for Chinese tourists.

In the sketch the host warns tourists not to defecate “outside historical heritage sites” and while eating.

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SVT

Image caption

The Swedish TV show uploaded a video to Chinese site Youku about do’s and don’ts for Chinese tourists

“If you see a person walking their dog on the street, this does not mean they have just brought their lunch,” she goes on to say.

The video says Chinese people are racist, but Sweden welcomes black people, Arabs, Jews and “even homosexuals”.

“Because in Sweden, we believe in the principles of universal human worth. Although this principle does not apply to the Chinese,” the narrator says.

The video ends with the host saying that Sweden welcomes Chinese tourists, but they would be beaten if they misbehaved.

The sketch went viral on Youku, the Chinese equivalent of YouTube.

How did Chinese people react?

An overwhelming number of Chinese people on the Twitter-like platform Sina Weibo have reacted with anger.

It wasn’t long before the hashtag #SwedishTVShowInsultsChinesePeople started to trend, gaining more than 34 million views.

“This is unforgivable. I admit the Chinese tourists behaved embarrassingly, but they should not insult the whole of China like this. They should apologise,” said one commenter.

“They purposely dubbed the sketch in Chinese… obviously they want us to know they are insulting us,” one said.

“The way to stand up to Sweden is to boycott them. Do not travel there, boycott IKEA, H&M and Volvo,” said another user, with many others posting similar comments.

The Chinese government was equally enraged.

“[This program] amounts to a gross insult and vicious attack on China and the Chinese people,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang. “We strongly condemn [it].”

He added that the ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Sweden had “lodged stern representations and strong protest” with Stockholm.

SVT entertainment director Thomas Hall told the BBC that the ambition of the show was to “comment on current affairs by using satire and humour”.

He clarified in a statement that the segment was published on Youku to “gather Chinese reactions”, adding that “this was a mistake, as the entirety of our message and ambition was then lost… we recognise that this may have been an insult, for which we are truly sorry.”

So, they’ve fallen out just because of tourists and a TV show?

Not really. This falling out might actually be a sign of bigger underlying issues.

The Dalai Lama – the Tibetan spiritual leader who Beijing sees as a separatist threat – visited Sweden earlier this month.

Chinese state media however, has denied that the feud has anything to do with the Dalai Lama.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Gui Minhai’s imprisonment has been an ongoing issue of contention. He is pictured on the right.

And there’s also the ongoing issue of Gui Minhai, a Swedish citizen and bookseller based in Hong Kong who was seized by Chinese authorities in January while travelling to Beijing on a train from Ningbo in eastern China.

He was with two Swedish diplomats and was said to have been on his way to see a Swedish specialist doctor. Chinese state media, however, accused Sweden of trying to spirit him out of China.

According to Viking Bohman, an analyst at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, one “plausible explanation” for the breakdown in relations is Gui Minhai.

“I think as long as Gui Minhai is in captivity in China this will be a big point of friction… If calls for the release of Gui continue to grow in Sweden, and if China won’t budge, the relationship is likely to suffer.”

Reporting by the BBC’s Yvette Tan

Premier League: Tottenham to host Man City at Wembley after stadium delay

Premier League: Tottenham to host Man City at Wembley after stadium delay
Tottenham’s new ground, which seats 62,062, is nearing completion

Tottenham’s home Premier League match with Manchester City has been put back one day so it can be played at Wembley.

The match will now be played on Monday, 29 October as Wembley was unavailable on the Sunday because of an NFL game.

Spurs had hoped to host the champions at their new stadium, built on the site of the old White Hart Lane ground, but “safety issues” delayed its opening.

The club also confirmed that all three of their home Champions League group games will now be played at Wembley.

The change means Manchester United’s home game with Everton is also delayed by a day, moving from Saturday lunchtime to replace Spurs v Man City as the live TV match at 16:00 GMT on 28 October.

“We should like to apologise to both our and Manchester City fans for this fixture having to be moved to a weekday evening and any inconvenience caused,” a Spurs club statement read.

“Despite the possibility that our new stadium could be ready to host this match, this would not be known until much closer to the date of the game.

“We have therefore agreed with the Premier League that, in the interests of clarity and certainty, we shall confirm this game as taking place at this time at Wembley Stadium so that fans of both teams can now make travel arrangements accordingly.”

Tottenham had been due to move into their new home in time for the league match with Liverpool on 15 September, but that match and one against Cardiff have already been moved to Wembley.

The north London club had already confirmed their first Champions League home game with Barcelona on 3 October would be played at the national stadium. Their remaining home matches in Group B, against PSV Eindhoven and Inter Milan, have now followed suit.

Chairman Daniel Levy said: “We are all focused on ensuring contractors deliver our new stadium in the shortest possible period of time and opening our stadium at the earliest opportunity.

“We are now being regularly updated on progress and as soon as we have confidence in our project managers’ and contractors’ ability to deliver against the revised schedule of works, we shall be able to issue dates for test events and the official opening game.”

Meanwhile, Spurs will find out on Thursday whether they have got permission to host their Carabao Cup game with Watford at MK Dons later this month.

Surfing at 2020 Olympics: Kelly Slater pioneering artificial wave technology

Surfing at 2020 Olympics: Kelly Slater pioneering artificial wave technology
Kelly Slater says he would like to compete at the Olympics but recognises he “hasn’t won a world title in many years”

Eleven-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater has ridden the best waves from South Africa to Tahiti, but the look on his face when he first saw the artificial wave he helped build told of a new beginning.

On a cold California morning in December 2015, the American widely known as the most professional surfer ever could only hold his arms aloft, beam his wide Floridian smile and shout: “Oh my God!”

No-one has more world titles than the 46-year-old and he holds the records for the youngest world champion at 20 and the oldest at 39.

But he tells BBC Sport building the Surf Ranch – regarded as the best artificial wave pool in the world – has been “the most rewarding part of his career”.

The project, which cost a reported $30m and took 10 years to create, appears to have paid off as surfers and fans will flock to the finals of the inaugural Surf Ranch Pro on Sunday – the first time a World Championship Tour event has been held at a wave pool.

And with Slater building another lagoon just outside of Tokyo in time for the 2020 Olympics where surfing will make its debut, he can continue as a pioneer despite reaching the twilight of his career.

He also has designs on competing there.

Waves pools allow fans to get a lot closer to the action

Why surfing needs artificial waves

Surf pools or lagoons are becoming popular all over the world, in an attempt to make surfing more accessible. There is even one in the Snowdonia mountains of north Wales.

Booming ocean waves might be heaven for experienced surfers but they make it hard to learn for beginners.

And the unpredictability of the weather means that you can never predict if a surf competition will have waves at the right time, which plays havoc with broadcasters. Often an event will leave a 10-14 day window open in the hope the swell turns in the right direction, meaning ticket sales can suffer.

Wave pools help eliminate all these problems and bring the crowd closer to the action.

Waves are created every few minutes and allow surfers to travel up and down the pool, meaning there is no waiting time for the right swell to land or even the right wave.

With every ride identical, and surfers able to score points on waves that travel left and right, it allows judges to compare “apples with apples”, as Slater says.

That consistency is an important factor when the winning prize at the Surf Ranch Pro is $100,000, for example, or an Olympic gold medal is on the line.

Immediately, you can see why it might interest organisers of one-off competitions such as the Olympics and aid surfers who might otherwise win a heat based on a better wave breaking exactly where they are.

“It kind of balances everyone out,” Slater tells BBC Sport. “When you’re surfing in the ocean, you’re comparing different peoples’ styles, catching different waves, a little bit of luck, the ocean sending someone one way or the other, but here at the Surf Ranch we are all riding the same platform.

“So it really comes down to your skill set. It exposes everyone to what they do well and what they don’t do well. What can they bring to the table and how consistently they can do that under pressure?”

The Surf Ranch is 700m long and the vehicle creating the waves (in blue) travels at 18mph

How does it work?

The technology is often a closely-guarded secret, not least at the Surf Ranch where years of design, development and testing have led to a ride which has had professionals comparing it to an ocean wave.

Six-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore said it was one of the highlights of her career when Slater rang her up and asked her to surf his wave pool, describing it as “a whole new world”.

Slater, who says he has been “dreaming of this wave my whole life”, claims it’s more powerful than people think, with some of his friends breaking their boards after wiping out. It also offers a consistent barrel, the likes of which other wave pools struggle to match.

In basic terms, the wave is created in the same way that a boat creates a wake when it runs through water. Only, the Surf Ranch has a very specific bit of hydrofoil technology which runs down the side of the 700m lagoon and makes the wake rise up six foot before peeling over in a perfect curve.

Surfers will travel on the wave at 18mph.

Asked how different it is to riding ocean waves, Slater says: “Surprisingly not very different. It’s actually got more power and speed than most waves of its size in the ocean. It reminds people of some of their favourite waves around the world and that’s the biggest compliment to it from the hardcore surfers.”

It may lack the authenticity of the sea, but Slater says “nothing will replace the ocean”, adding that artificial waves should “supplement” that experience.

Slater says “nothing will replace the ocean”, adding that artificial waves should “supplement” that experience.

What does it mean for the sport and Olympics?

Given that the Surf Ranch Pro is already booked into the 2019 World Surf League schedule, it looks like artificial waves are here to stay.

Surfing’s inclusion at the Olympics also appears to have created a race to build a lagoon near Tokyo for the 2020 Games.

In addition to Slater’s venture, which comes under the guise of the Kelly Slater Wave Company, a rival wave is being built outside of Japan’s capital.

For now, Tokyo Games organisers say the Olympics will be held on ocean waves, but there will still be benefits for Olympic athletes, Slater says.

“We are building a pool in Japan about 30 minutes outside of Tokyo city centre,” he says. “There is no coincidence with regard to the timing.

“If we can get it built in time, great. If not, it’s still going to be there for all the surfers in Japan to use and it can still be a training ground for the different teams competing in the Olympics.”

Kelly Slater last won a world surfing title in 2011, aged 39

Could Slater compete at Olympics?

The prospects of Slater competing at the Olympics are still in doubt but no-one will know how the wave performs better than him.

Hosting the most famous surfer in the world would also be a huge coup for an event making its debut.

Slater recognises that, at 46 years old, there are younger and more athletic surfers who might qualify ahead of him, particularly as he continues his recover from a broken foot last year. He has said he plans to retire after the 2019 season, which counts towards Olympic qualification.

But it’s clear the competitive streak still burns in him.

Asked if he would like to appear in Tokyo despite entering the twilight of his career, he grins and says: “Who told you that, man? I’m just getting started!

“I would like to compete there. Obviously I would have to go through the proper preparation and qualification to do that.

“I have won 11 world titles, but that doesn’t guarantee me a spot and I haven’t won a world title in many years so I will need to get my act together.

“I know where I stand in relation to other people and the things I need to work on. I’m still dealing with a really tough injury from last year that I haven’t gotten over so if I can get past that and get my body and mind in the right place, I think I can compete.”

As if to underline his determination, his response to what he wants to take away from this weekend at the Surf Ranch Pro is simple. “$100,000 on Sunday,” he says with a straight face followed by that wide Floridian smile.

‘Magnificent’ Wales must maintain form – Giggs

‘Magnificent’ Wales must maintain form – Giggs
Gareth Bale was in playful mood with Tom Lawrence after Wales beat Republic of Ireland 4-1
Uefa Nations League: Denmark v Wales
Venue: Aarhus Stadium Date: Sunday, 9 September Kick-off: 17:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live, Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, the BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Wales manager Ryan Giggs told his “magnificent” team to stay at the standard that helped them hammer the Republic of Ireland 4-1.

The Uefa Nations League win was Giggs’ first competitive game in charge.

“The lads were magnificent, some brilliant goals and great football. I can’t be much happier,” he told Sky Sports.

Tom Lawrence, Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Connor Roberts scored for the hosts before Shaun Williams replied.

Giggs’ appearance record for Wales as a player made his appointment a divisive one, but fans sang his name at Cardiff City Stadium in his first home match as the national team manager.

And the former Manchester United winger will surely hope for a repeat of Thursday’s display when they travel to face Denmark on Sunday after agreeing they had “set a benchmark” against the Republic.

“I said to the players: ‘The bad news is you have to keep to that standard,'” he added.

“It’s as simple as that. When you drop below those standards, you’re letting me down and you’re letting yourselves down.

“It’s not easy because there were some really good performances and, as a team, they performed well.

“But you have to keep getting better. You’ve got to keep improving. There are loads of things we could have done better. We’ll work on that over the next few days.”

We made a statement – Bale

A 1-0 home defeat by the Republic of Ireland in October 2017 ended Wales’ World Cup qualification hopes, but this was a totally different display by a revived team.

Lawrence set the tone with an emphatic sixth-minute finish from Joe Allen’s through ball, and Bale whipped in an even better second goal from the edge of the area after a raking cross-field pass from Ben Davies.

The hosts 3-0 up before half-time as 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu set up Ramsey for a low finish.

Roberts’ crisp left-footed strike in the second half put Wales four goals up, before the Republic managed a consolation of sorts when substitute Williams seized on an error by Ramsey to score.

Real Madrid forward Bale – such a key figure under Giggs’ predecessor Chris Coleman as Wales reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016 – said there was “a lot to enjoy” about the performance.

“We had to put in a good performance in the first home game of the new regime,” Bale told Sky Sports.

“We wanted to show what we’re capable of and make a statement.

“We’re looking to win every game and win the group. The manager is trying to stamp his own style on the team and there’s still a lot to improve on.”

Lawrence added: “It was a good one to play in, the fans were amazing and we put in a performance for them.

“I think we’ve done exactly what the gaffer wanted.”

Have Wales unearthed a new star?

Giggs reserved special praise for Chelsea midfielder Ampadu, who assisted the third goal.

“Ethan is a talented player,” said Giggs. “But more than that, as a person, he’s so balanced and mature for such a young player. He’ll be a magnificent player.

“You don’t get long [in an international break] but a big thank you to the staff and players.”

GB’s Hewett ready for US Open after travel chaos

GB’s Hewett ready for US Open after travel chaos
Hewett made his US Open debut last year, winning the doubles with Gordon Reid

British wheelchair player Alfie Hewett slept on an airport floor as he endured a “horrible experience” travelling to the US Open.

The 20-year-old, who won the men’s doubles title with Gordon Reid last year, began his journey on Monday from St Louis but arrived in New York on Tuesday evening.

“I don’t have injuries but I’m going to feel very stiff sitting in a chair for 26 hours and then the floor,” he said.

“It has messed up my lower body.”

The Norwich player beat world number one Shingo Kunieda in the final of the US Open warm-up event in St Louis, Missouri, before heading to the airport.

His travel problems started when he landed in Chicago to find his American Airlines connecting flight first delayed by problems in New York and then a thunderstorm, before being cancelled.

A second United Airlines flight on Monday night was also cancelled, and he was forced to remain at O’Hare International Airport while he waited for his bags, including his racquets and tennis chair, before being put on a flight to New York early on Tuesday morning.

“They wouldn’t put me up in accommodation,” added Hewett. “I asked if there was an airport hotel, they said no, there was one half an hour away. It was about midnight and I realised I had to be at the airport in four and a half hours anyway.

“I asked where my bags were, they didn’t know. They looked, they were still in the airport but they were going to JFK [New York]. I wasn’t going to JFK any more and they wouldn’t re-route them. The only option I had was to stay in the airport for another two hours to collect them – it was my racquets, chairs, everything.

“So I slept on the floor for about 45 minutes, went to get my bags, then by the time I’d done that and got to the other terminal, it was practically time to check in again.

“It was a horrible experience. When something like that happens you don’t feel like they look after you. I explained my situation but there were lots of other people who needed to be in different places for business meetings and family reasons, so I was just another one.”

Hewett and compatriot Reid begin the defence of their doubles title in the semi-final against Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina and Japan’s Kunieda.

Lucy Shuker takes on South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane in the women’s singles while Andy Lapthorne will be in action in the quad division.

Woman dies after caravan blown off cliff

Woman dies after caravan blown off cliff

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Media captionA woman died when the caravan she was in was blown off a cliff

Two people have died after Storm Ali swept across parts of the UK and Ireland, bringing winds of up to 100mph.

A woman died after the caravan she was in was blown off a cliff in the Irish Republic, while in Northern Ireland a man was killed by a falling tree.

Others have been injured, including a woman who was badly hurt when a tree fell on a car in Cheshire.

Thousands of homes are without power, lorries have overturned and a cruise ship broke free from its moorings.

A yellow warning, meaning “be aware”, is in place for Northern Ireland, Scotland and northern England until 22:00 BST.

Ali is the UK’s first named storm of the season.

A man in his 20s was killed and another in his 40s was injured, after a tree fell on them at the gates of Slieve Gullion Forest Park, near Newry, County Armagh.

The men were working on behalf of Northern Ireland Water.

It is understood the woman who was killed in County Galway was a tourist in her 50s who had been staying at a campsite in Claddaghduff.

Cheshire Police said a woman in Crewe was taken to hospital with serious injuries after a tree fell on a car on the A49.

In Scotland efforts will continue throughout the night to restore power supplies and clear debris from roads and rail.

One person was injured after being blown over by high winds outside the new V&A Dundee museum, which was later closed.

Five hundred cruise passengers and crew were stranded in Greenock after severe weather broke their ship’s mooring lines. Tugs were called in to assist the Nautica.

A 102mph gust was recorded on the Tay Road Bridge between Dundee and Fife at 15:00.

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West Midlands Fire Service

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This home-owner in Sandwell, West Midlands, had a lucky escape after a tree was blown down

Earlier a “major incident” was declared in Dumfries and Galloway, where a number of people were hurt by flying debris.

Children in the area were told not to walk home from school until the weather subsided.

Dumfries and Galloway Virtual Operations Support Team said some children had been injured by flying debris.

The team said the “major incident” had now ended.

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PA

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This Boeing 737 managed to land in torrential rain at Leeds Bradford Airport, but many other flights are disrupted

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PA

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Tugs were sent to assist the cruise liner Nautica, which broke from its moorings

Earlier, a freight train derailed on the Highland Main Line after striking fallen branches.

And strong winds also caused a cruise ship to slip its moorings in the port of Greenock, Inverclyde.

Oceania Cruises said all guests and crew were safe and tugs were able to bring the vessel back to its berth on Wednesday evening.

In Edinburgh, a section of Princes Street in the city centre was closed after parts of the roof of the Top Shop building came off in strong winds.

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Getty Images

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People in Blackpool brave the winds

Thousands of homes and businesses are still without power in Scotland.

Power cuts and fallen trees have also caused disruption in Cumbria, where residents were warned of flying debris.

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Tony McKenzie

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A trampoline lifts off in Shifnal, Shropshire

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Media captionWeather presenter Chris Fawkes says winds of 115mph were recorded in the Scottish mountains

Travel disruption:

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CUMBRIA ROADS POLICE

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Cumbria Roads Police says this HGV was overturned on the M6 due to wind

  • The M6 was closed northbound between J43 and J44 after a lorry was blown over – although lanes have now reopened
  • The Tay Road Bridge between Fife and Dundee was shut for much of the day, but later reopened to cars only
  • Glasgow Airport had a number of cancellations and there was further disruption expected at Belfast International Airport
  • Virgin trains running between Preston and Glasgow may be cancelled or delayed due to speed restrictions
  • Trains to and from Glasgow Central station were suspended
  • ScotRail is is advising against all but essential travel, with a number of routes suspended due to trees on the line or overhead wires being damaged

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PA

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Fallen trees like this one in Belfast are causing disruption

In Northern Ireland, about 65,000 homes were without power, while two councils closed some public spaces because of the storm.

Belfast City Council said it had closed all its parks, pitches and playgrounds, while Derry City and Strabane District Council closed all its parks and cemeteries “until further notice”.

Belfast Zoo was also closed due to the weather.

Dozens of roads are known to have been affected, with a number closed by fallen trees.

Image copyright
Nick Edgington / Twitter

Image caption

Storm Ali brought spectacular lightning over the west coast of Scotland

BBC Weather said on Wednesday evening that the wind had dropped – although the yellow warning remains in force across the whole of Scotland, and parts of North Wales and northern England.

Those areas are likely to experience gusts of up to 60 mph but could face similar levels of danger and damage.

BBC Weather said the storm could have a greater impact because of the time of year.

It said most trees were still in full leaf and were “acting like sails”, making it more likely they could be pulled over and cause travel problems.