Sunday 28 December 2014

Australian heatwave breaks records as authorities warn of raging bushfires

Published 13/01/2013 | 05:00

AUSTRALIA'S heatwave set a new high of almost 50C yesterday as authorities warned that large uncontrolled bushfires would continue to threaten areas in the south-east of the country.

In parts of New South Wales authorities fought nearly 100 bushfires with many still out of control. Fire crews also fought blazes in Tasmania, Victoria and Queensland. In the south, firefighters struggled to control a massive bushfire near the town of Cooma, gateway to Australia's ski fields, that has burned through 10,000 hectares. In the late afternoon an emergency alert was issued indicating that danger from fire was imminent.

Islanders mourn Concordia disaster

A MINUTE'S silence will be held on the Italian island of Giglio today, as survivors of the Costa Concordia disaster commemorate the one-year anniversary of the disaster that killed 32 people. A mass will be held in a church on the tiny island and 32 illuminated lanterns will be released into the sky at 9.45pm local time, marking the exact moment that the Concordia slammed into rocks, tearing a 230ft gash in its hull. The huge chunk of granite that embedded itself in the ship will be returned to the rocky shoal from where it was ripped, with a plaque commemorating the disaster.

It had been hoped that the 950ft-long luxury liner could be raised this spring, but rough weather and the challenge of drilling into granite to secure anchor blocks and pylons has pushed the schedule back by months. The cost of the operation has also increased, from an initial estimate of $300m (€225m) to $400m (€300m).

Duke and Chinese meet over poaching

PRINCE Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, will be meeting Chinese government officials to discuss the wildlife crisis caused by the surge in demand for traditional Chinese medicines. Prince Philip is concerned about the growth in trade for endangered species, particularly tigers and rhinos, whose bones and horns are used in traditional Chinese medicines as aphrodisiacs and purported cures for cancer, arthritis and hangovers.

Bodies pulled from landslide disaster

AUTHORITIES have pulled out the bodies of all 46 people, including 19 children, who were buried by a landslide that swept through a village in the steep, snow-dusted mountains of southern China, state media said.

The landslide smothered 14 homes in Zhaojiagou village in Yunnan province on Friday.

Fans keep hunt for lost Missoni alive

THE fashion world is urging authorities to keep searching for the missing CEO of Missoni as Milan Fashion Week gets under way. The Italian National Fashion Chamber has urged the fashion community to post messages on social networks to keep the search for Vittorio Missoni at the centre of authorities' attention. Mr Missoni went missing with three other Italians and two crew members when their twin-engine aircraft disappeared off Venezuelan resort islands on January 5.

Beijing pollution keeps people at home

AIR pollution readings in China's notoriously polluted capital were at dangerously high levels for the second straight day, with hazy skies blocking visibility and authorities urging people to stay indoors. Local officials warned that the severe pollution in Beijing – reportedly the worst since the local government began collecting data a year ago – was likely to continue until Tuesday. In Beijing, authorities have blamed foggy conditions and a lack of wind for the air pollutants.

Sunday Independent

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