Thousands wait to see if volcano will bury their homes

The fine ash drifting into the school gym on gusts of wind is a constant reminder for evacuees in the Philippines of the volcano that threatens to bury their homes forever. As they sit fenced in by the few bags and boxes of belongings they could carry, evacuees wonder how long they will have to wait to know whether Taal […]

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‘It destroys you, mate, to shoot your own cattle’

Belinda Attree walks towards a ditch in a paddock that has been blackened by Australia’s massive bushfires. “We’ll get as close as we can without probably getting a bit sick,” she says. In the ditch – now a grave – are 20 dead cattle and a kangaroo. All were badly burned when the fire swept through Corryong, about half-way between […]

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Stardust billions of years older than Earth found on meteorite

The oldest thing ever found on Earth has been discovered by scientists – and it is more than two billion years older than our planet. Tiny specks of stardust dating back seven billion years have been uncovered in a meteorite that landed in Victoria, Australia, in 1969. Known as the Murchison Meteorite, it contains a mix of material from when […]

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Australia PM regrets handling of bushfire crisis

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has expressed regret over his handling of the bushfire crisis ravaging the country. The PM has faced mounting criticism over his government’s response to the bushfires and its climate policy. Since September, bushfires have killed at least 28 people and destroyed thousands of homes. On Sunday, Mr Morrison conceded there were “things I could have […]

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Could ‘controlled burning’ stop Australian fires?

As Australia battles unprecedented fires this year, a debate is under way about what is called “controlled burning” as a means to stop fires spreading. This involves deliberately starting fires under controlled conditions to clear out low-lying flammable material – sometimes called “prescribed” or “hazard reduction burning”. It is not the same as “back burning”, which is done as a […]

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Exhausted firefighters in Australia get brief respite but temperatures set to rise again

Bolstered by cooler weather and desperately needed rain, exhausted firefighters in Australia raced to shore up defences against deadly wildfires before the blazes flare again within days when scorching temperatures are expected to return. The first hints of the financial toll from the disaster began to emerge yesterday, when the Insurance Council of Australia said the estimated damage bill had […]

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Survival of iconic species now in danger as deadly Australian fires kill 25,000 koalas

At least 25,000 koalas are believed to have died in wildfires in Australia that may lead to devastating consequences for the survival of the species. The fire on Kangaroo Island, which was considered a koala safe haven because its population had escaped a devastating chlamydia epidemic, was described on Saturday as “virtually unstoppable” by firefighters. Koala rescuer Margaret Hearle said […]

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Australian bushfires: Thousands trapped on beaches as wildfires rage

Thousands swarmed to beaches on Australia’s east coast yesterday to escape fierce wildfires bearing down on several seaside towns, as the government readied naval vessels and military helicopters to aid firefighting and evacuations. Government officials called for Australian military support and assistance from US and Canadian fire crews as authorities confirmed two people had died overnight, taking to 11 the […]

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Australia rings in New Year with fireworks as deadly fires ravage the country

Australians greeted the new year on Wednesday with a spectacular firework display over Sydney Harbour, despite deadly wildfires which have forced thousands to seek refuge on beaches and compelled many towns to call off their celebrations. Hong Kong also cancelled its popular New Year’s Eve fireworks in Victoria Harbour due to security concerns as pro-democracy protesters formed giant human chains […]

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