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Gone in a flash. Didcot power station's massive chimneys come tumbling down

In a cloud of smoke and with a thunderous blast three historic towers were demolished today after dominating the Thames Valley's skyline for more than four decades.

The three southern towers of Didcot A power station in Oxfordshire were brought down by nearly 400lbs (180kg) of explosives in a matter of seconds. Hundreds of local residents were up all night to get the best vantage point to see the towers come tumbling down

The decision to demolish the towers in the early hours of the morning angered some locals, with a petition to change the timing gaining more than 3,000 signatures. Didcot town council had also expressed its disappointment but npower said the timeslot between 3am and 5am had been chosen for safety reasons, taking into account the risk of people getting too close to the explosion, and the impact of the dust cloud on local roads and a nearby rail line.

Warning sirens were sounded 15 and then 10 minutes before the explosion at 5am. During the build-up to the explosion #DidcotDemolition was trending on Twitter, and one Oxfordshire resident said: "This has gotta be Didcot's most momentous occasion since we won the FA vase".

The coal-fired power station ceased generating in March last year after dominating the skyline around the town since 1970, with the neighbouring gas-fired Didcot B continuing. The towers' appearance was not universally appreciated with many people finding them an eyesore. Whtaever your point of view, the journey along the A34 will never look the same.

Flash Floods in Kent and Essex

by David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

Homes and businesses in the South East have been flooded with up to four feet of water after torrential rain and storms swept the region. Almost a month's worth of rain fell in just one weekend, North Kent and South Essex were particularly badly hit and elsewhere, lightning and strong winds damaged homes.

Today the long job of clearing up began. David Johns reports, speaking to householder Bill Smith, pub manager Peter Pethers, Gravesham Borough Council leader John Burden, householders Rose & Bob Kitts, and Castle Point MP Rebecca Harris.


Costa Concordia ready to be towed away from island

The Costa Concordia is ready to be towed away from the Italian island where it struck a rock and capsized two-and-a-half years ago, killing 32 people, officials have revealed.

Costa Concordia
The wreckage of the Costa Concordia Credit: ITV News

Many survivors were from the south including dancers from Dorset and Kent as well as passengers from Surrey and Hampshire.

The ship should have been ready to tow today, Monday, but the departure has been pushed back a day due to forecasts of rough seas.

The 114,500-tonne Concordia has been slowly lifted from the sea floor since last Monday, when salvagers began pumping air into 30 large metal boxes attached around the hull.

A convoy of 14 vessels, led by the tug boat Blizzard, will then tow the Concordia to a port near Genoa, where it will be broken up for scrap, completing one of the biggest maritime salvage operations in history.

The president of the French Concordia survivors group Anne Decre, who is on the island of Giglio, told Reuters that the departure of the ship will be an important symbolic moment for those who were aboard the night of the shipwreck.

"It gives us the opportunity to try and collect ourselves and move forward," she said, adding that the liner will take the same route to Genoa it should have taken more than two years ago to complete its ill-fated cruise.

"We hope that we will also be able to return to our route."

The ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, is on trial on charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck as he sailed too close to shore to "salute" the port, and abandoning ship. He is fighting the charges.

Paying for the disaster, including breaking up the vessel and repairing the damage to Giglio, is likely to cost the ship's owner and operator Costa Crociere, a unit of Carnival Corp, more than 1.5 billion euros, the company's chief executive has said.

The cruise liner will be demolished and scrapped in a port near Genoa.

Homes and streets flooded as roads turn into rivers

A number of homes and roads were flooded in Kent and across the south-east of England after the Met Office issued a "yellow" warning for rain across the region. Viewers in Sittingbourne, Teynham and Gravesend have all reported torrential rain leading to flash flooding.

Essex Fire and Rescue Service said it dealt with incidents including a house fire following a lightning strike, people stranded in vehicles stuck in flood water, cables arcing and hedgerow fires.

Roads submerged as flash floods follow thunderstorms


We've added even more pictures to our story on the flooding in parts of #Kent this afternoon


Areas of Kent hit by flooding during heavy rain & thunder: Sittingbourne, Teynham, Bobbing


Astonishing storm in Sittingbourne. Rain relentless. Biggest raindrops you've ever seen



Dinosaur museum planned for Jurassic Coast

A meeting will take place this evening over a 60 million pound plan to turn a dis-used quarry into a dinosaur museum

The visitor centre - called Jurassica - would open on Portland in Dorset in around 2019. It would see a glass roof over the limestone quarry and include an aquarium and animatronics. Early designs have been drawn up by Renzo Piano - the same man behind the shard in London

Momentous day says Bishop of Portsmouth

Rt Rev Christopher Foster, Bishop of Portsmouth Credit: Portsmouth Doicese

The Rt Rev Christopher Foster was among those who voted in favour of legislation that will pave the way for women bishops. The legislation was passed by all three of the General Synod’s houses – the House of Bishops, House of Clergy and House of Laity – by the required two-thirds majority.

Bishop Christopher said: “I welcome the vote that women can be called to be bishops in the Church of England. This decision is later than many had hoped, but it is made now with substantial support across the church and with trust and understanding of the differences that there have been.

This means the first woman bishop could potentially be appointed by the end of the year. Today’s vote comes just 18 months after the proposal was last voted upon in November 2012, when it failed to achieve the required two-thirds majority in the House of Laity.

Gifted women can serve as Bishops

Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester Credit: Winchester Diocese

The Right Rev. Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, has welcomed the news that women can now be ordained as Bishops saying at last gifted women can rise through the Church of England.

He said:“Synod's decision has sent out a joyful message. At last, gifted women leaders will be able to serve as bishops. I’m delighted, I hope this decision will allow for reconciliation and enable all to flourish in the church’s life and mission.

"For so long, including in our own diocese of Winchester, the Church of England has benefited greatly from the outstanding ministry of both women and men working together. Now, we can look forward to working together in our mission as bishops as well.

" This has been an emotional journey. That applies as much for those who have campaigned steadfastly for this day, as well as those whose traditional views have been challenged.

Bishop of Salisbury welcomes women bishops vote

Salisbury Cathedral Credit: Paul Seheult PA

The Bishop of Salisbury, the Right Revd Nicholas Holtam, has welcomed the historic decision that will lead to the consecration of the first women bishops in the Church of England.

Bishop Nicholas said: "Although this is a new departure for England, it should be noted that Anglican women are already bishops in nine other countries. In some countries, women bishops have now been serving for a quarter of a century.

“I was particularly pleased by the principled and generous spirit in which this debate took place. I look forward to helping ensure that spirit continues to nurture a Church in which all can flourish, including the minority who cannot, in conscience, support this step.”

There are already female Anglican bishops serving in Australia, Canada, Cuba, India, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Swaziland and the United States.

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