Watch: More than 1000 cars go up in flames in carpark blaze in Liverpool

Around 1400 cars have been destroyed after a fire tore through a multi-story parking garage in Liverpool, England overnight.

Witnesses said the fire began after the engine of an older Land Rover exploded and quickly spread.

The carpark, located next to Liverpool's Echo Arena, also threatened horses stabled nearby for an international horse show.

The fire was brought under control early this morning.

Fire officials said no one was injured but six dogs were rescued in the blaze.

An emergency shelter was set up to help people unable to go home following the incident.

Nearby apartments had to be evacuated due to the heavy smoke.

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'Nothing Left' after Hurricane Michael's rampage on Florida Panhandle

Linda Marquardt rode out Hurricane Michael with her husband at their home in Mexico Beach. When their house filled with surging ocean water, they fled upstairs. 

Now their home is full of mud and everywhere they look there's utter devastation in their Florida Panhandle community: fishing boats tossed like toys, roofs lifted off of buildings and pine trees snapped like matchsticks in 249 km/h winds.

Row after row of beachfront homes were so obliterated by Michael's surging seas and howling winds that only slabs of concrete in the sand remain, a testament that this was ground zero when the epic Category Four hurricane slammed ashore at midweek. The destruction in this and other communities dotting the white-sand beaches is being called catastrophic - and it will need billions of dollars to rebuild.

"All of my furniture was floating," said Ms Marquardt, 67. "'A river just started coming down the road. It was awful, and now there's just nothing left."

At least three deaths were blamed on Michael, the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental US in over 50 years, and by early Friday it wasn't over yet: a tropical storm long after Wednesday's landfall, Michael stubbornly kept up its punch while barreling up the Southeast, dumping heavy rains and spreading flash flooding misery as far away as Virginia.

High winds, downed trees, streets inundated by rising waters and multiple rescues of motorists from waterlogged cars played out in spots around Virginia and neighboring North Carolina. And while forecasters said Michael was gradually losing its tropical traits, it was a new chapter would begin as an extra-tropical storm predicted to intensify with gale force winds once it starts cross out into the Atlantic.

Homes at Mexico Beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast have been left shredded in the wake of Hurricane Michael’s 250kmh winds. Source: Associated Press

In North Carolina's mountains, motorists had to be rescued on Thursday from cars trapped by high water. High winds toppled trees and power lines, leaving hundreds of thousands without power. Flash flooding also was reported in the big North Carolina cities of Charlotte and Raleigh. Similar scenes played out in parts of Virginia as the storm raced seaward.

All told, more than 900,000 homes and businesses in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas were without power.

Meanwhile, thousands of National Guard troops, law enforcement officers and rescue teams still had much to do in the hardest hit area: Florida's Panhandle. Families living along the Panhandle are now faced with a struggle to survive in a perilous landscape of shattered homes and shopping centers, the storm debris spread far and wide.

In one community, Panama City, most homes were still standing, but no property was left undamaged. Downed power lines and twisted street signs lay all around. Aluminum siding was shredded and homes were split by fallen trees. Hundreds of cars had broken windows. The hurricane damaged hospitals and nursing homes in Panama City, and officials worked to evacuate hundreds of patients.

"So many lives have been changed forever. So many families have lost everything," said Florida Governor Rick Scott, calling it "unimaginable destruction."

An insurance company that produces models for catastrophes estimated Michael caused about $US8 billion in damage. Boston-based Karen Clark & Company released that estimate on Thursday, which includes privately insured wind and storm surge damage to residential, commercial and industrial properties and vehicles. It doesn't include losses covered by the National Flood Insurance Program.

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Live from the Oval Office, it's Kanye West with a jaw-dropping performance

Live from the Oval Office, it's Kanye West with a jaw-dropping performance.

The rapper didn't rap. But, seated across from President Donald Trump at the Resolute Desk, the musician delivered a rambling, multi-part monologue on Thursday that touched on social issues, hydrogen planes, mental health, endorsement deals, politics and oh so much more.

Seizing the spotlight from the typically centre-stage president, West dropped the F-word, floated policy proposals - and went in for a hug.

"They tried to scare me to not wear this hat," West said of his red "Make America Great Again" cap. But, he said, "This hat, it gives me power in a way."

"You made a Superman cape for me," he told Mr Trump.

It was a surreal scene even by the standards of a nonconventional White House. The unlikely allies spoke to reporters before a closed-door lunch that had been billed as a forum to discuss policy issues including manufacturing, gangs, prison reform and violence in Chicago, where West grew up.

Spectators at the show included Mr Trump's son-in-law and top advisor, Jared Kushner, former NFL star Jim Brown, the attorney for a gang leader serving time in federal prison, and a gaggle of reporters.

During one pause, Mr  Trump seemed to acknowledge the oddness of the moment, saying, "That was quite something."

West's mental health has been a question of speculation since he was hospitalised in 2016. In a bizarre performance last month on Saturday Night Live he delivered an unscripted pro-Trump message after the credits rolled.

Addressing the topic on Thursday, West said he had at one point been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but was later told by a neuropsychologist he'd been misdiagnosed.

"So he said that I actually wasn't bipolar; I had sleep deprivation, which could cause dementia 10 to 20 years from now, where I wouldn't even remember my son's name," he said.

The conversation began with an exchange on North Korea among Mr Trump, Brown and West. Mr Trump said the region was headed for war before he took over, and West commended him for stopping it. Brown said he liked North Korea; Mr Trump agreed.

From there, West discussed prison reform and violence in inner-city Chicago. He brought up Larry Hoover, the leader of the Gangster Disciples who is serving a life sentence for murder, claiming: "The reason why they imprisoned him is because he started doing positive for the community. He started showing that he actually had power, he wasn't just one of a monolithic voice, that he could wrap people around."

West said he "loved Hillary" Clinton, Mr Trump's 2016 Democratic rival, because he loves everyone, but said he connected with Mr Trump's "male energy". He also criticised the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, calling it a "trap door".

Holding out his phone, West showed Mr Trump a picture of a hydrogen-powered plane that he thought should replace Air Force One.

"This right here is the iPlane 1," he said. "This is what our president should be flying."

Added West: "If he don't look good, we don't look good. This is our president. He has to be the freshest, the flyest" and have "the flyest planes."

West also had a sartorial suggestion for Mr Trump, proposing a hat that says just "Make America Great" - dropping the "again."

At the end of West's lengthy, sometimes-hard-to-follow dialogue, even Mr Trump seemed at a loss.

"I tell you what: That was pretty impressive," the president said.

"It was from the soul," West replied. "I just channeled it."

West later told reporters of his verbal stylings: "You are tasting a fine wine that has multiple notes to it. You better play 4D chess with me. ... It's complex."

Taking questions from reporters, the rapper also voiced concern about stop-and-frisk policing. Mr Trump this week called on Chicago to embrace the tactic, which allowed police to detain, question and search civilians without probable cause, though it was deemed unconstitutional in New York City because of its overwhelming impact on minority residents.

Mr Trump said they'd discuss the matter and he'd keep an open mind.

Asked about his comments in 2005 that President George W. Bush didn't "care about black people" after Hurricane Katrina, West said that "We need to care about all people" and that he "was programed to think in a victimised mentality".

Donald Trump and West previously appeared together shortly after Mr Trump's 2016 election in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York.

Asked what the two had talked about during their December meeting, West responded briefly that time: "Life. We discussed life."

While Mr Trump has been shunned by much of the Hollywood establishment, he has a fan in West, who tweeted earlier this year that the two share "dragon energy."

"You don't have to agree with trump but the mob can't make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother," West wrote.

West is married to reality television star Kim Kardashian West, who successfully pushed Mr Trump to grant a pardon to a drug offender earlier this year.

West himself has suggested he might be open to wading into politics, including a run for president in 2020.

Asked if West could be a future presidential candidate, Mr Trump said, "Could very well be." West shot back, "Only after 2024."

After all that, the president brought the show to a close by suggesting, "Let's go have some lunch, OK?"

The controversial star continues to throw his support behind the controversial president. Source: 1 NEWS

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Man shook 'miracle baby' to death while wife waited for kettle to boil

A grieving Sydney mother wishes she had not waited for the kettle to boil because that's when her husband shook their "miracle baby" to death.

Her victim impact statement was read out in the New South Wale Supreme Court today at the sentence hearing for her ex-husband who can't be named and who has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of their two-month-old daughter.

She died of catastrophic brain injury in hospital five days after he shook the crying baby in November 2015 causing her to become immediately unconscious.

He also has admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm, relating to old healed and healing rib fractures and various bruises.

He told hospital staff: "I'm trained as a lifeguard in my country and we were taught to inflict some pain to get a response ... you will find my teeth marks on her because I was trying to get a response."

In her statement, read out by a support person, the mother said: "I feel guilty that I left her that time with him."

"Why didn't the kettle boil faster?

"Why did I need to wash the bottle?

"He took my baby, he took my health, my hope, my last chance."

They met in Australia after both coming here independently as asylum seekers from Iran more than five years ago.

Doctors told the woman she would never fall pregnant due to her diabetes but eventually after a very difficult pregnancy, their "miracle baby" was born, the mother said.

After her daughter's death, she studied child care and recalled a time when a new baby came to the centre.

She was tiny, with beautiful black hair and black eyes but was a bit upset looking for her mother.

"Everyone else held her but she keep searching for her mother," she said.

"But when I held her, she settled in my arms and fell asleep."

The baby had the same name as her dead daughter and "it was like a bomb going off in my heart".

Justice Lucy McCallum was told the father had been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and had been stabbed in jail while on remand.

She will sentence him on November 9.

Baby
Baby Source: istock.com


Coroner finds young man killed in Lower Hutt was behind wheel, intoxicated, in smash

A Coroner has once again warned young people about the dangers of driving while drunk or impaired by cannabis.

In findings issued today, Tim Scott has ruled that Leyton-Leigh Alderson, who died in a road smash in Lower Hutt in June 2015 was, on the balance of probabilities, driving the vehicle at the time.

Mr Alderson, his friend Beau McMenamin and a young woman had all been at a party in Wainuiomata before the crash.

Coroner Scott said neither of the young men should have been driving as they were either intoxicated or "well on the way to being so".

Mr Alderson's blood alcohol reading was twice the legal limit and blood taken from Beau McMenamin, while he was being treated at Lower Hutt Hospital for his injuries revealed he was similarly intoxicated.

The police initially charged Beau McMenamin with drunk driving causing death, but the charge was thrown out after an independent pathologist and crash investigation found evidence that Mr Alderson was driving.

Mr McMenamin subsequently sought costs from police and was awarded $9000 to cover the costs he had incurred in fighting the charge.

At the inquest in June, Mr McMenamin said he remembered the car sliding out of control as it approached a bridge and the next thing he recalled was being in hospital.

Mr McMenamin told the court he had been in the back seat when the crash occurred and denied the suggestion by Mr Alderson family's lawyer Elizabeth Hall that he was just saying that to avoid responsibility.

The young woman in the car had supported Mr McMenamin's description of the car being driven by Mr Alderson, as Coroner Scott explained in his Findings.

"It is possible [Beau McMenamin] might be motivated to fudge the truth in order to avoid legal and/or moral responsibility for the crash.

"However, [the young woman involved] could have no such motivation. She was friendly with Leyton and was his cousin. After the crash, she extracted Leyton from the car. She pulled him to a place of safety and remained with him although sadly he was deceased...

"In my mind [she] had no possible motive to protect Beau. Conversely, she had every possible motive to protect Leyton by casting responsibility upon Beau, but she did not do so."

Coroner Scott said three pathologists who reviewed the case all agreed, on the balance of probabilities, that Mr Alderson was mostly likely to have been the driver.

"They have reached this conclusion for a number of reasons and prominent amongst them was that they all considered that the place of most risk in the car was the driver's seat.

"All the pathologists refer to lower leg injuries suffered by Leyton ... and said these were typical of front seat injuries."

Coroner Scott said it was hardly surprising that Mr Alderson lost control of the car, as it was in a poor condition, with rear tyres that had worn through beyond their metal reinforcing belts.

"He was effectively driving at twice the legal blood alcohol limit. He was driving the car fast. When he lost control of the car it impacted three times and rolled over at least once.

"It was very badly damaged and the engine compartment separated from the cab and the rear of the car."

A pathologist determined Mr Alderson died as a result of multiple injuries, in particular a non-survivable head injury.

Coroner Scott said the car was being driven way from a party where alcohol and cannabis were consumed, presumably to deliver the occupants home, a situation he described as a "classic no no".

"If the car was to be driven it should have been in a safe condition and it should have been driven by a sober driver."

He said alternative means of transport were available to those in the car.

"There is reference to Beau having at least $20 used to purchase petrol. It is possible that [others in the car] may also have had funds available," he said.

"Presumably a taxi could have been called to transport the occupants of the car home."

Coroner Scott offered his sincere condolences to all members of Mr Alderson's family.

rnz.co.nz

Leyton-Leigh Alderson, who died in a road smash in Lower Hutt in June 2015, was ruled to be the driver. Source: rnz.co.nz