There are more than 170 wildfires racing across Siberia and close to 3.3 million hectares burning as authorities let many of the infernos rage on untouched. Smoke from the fires has reached the North Pole for the first time in recorded history and, put together, the inferno covers a larger area than all the other blazes around the world, the Washington Post reports. In recent years, Russia has recorded high temperatures that many scientists regard as a result of climate change. READ MORE: Thousands flee as fire devours Greek island's forests They argue the hot weather coupled with the neglect of fire safety rules has caused a growing number of fires. The vastness of the landscape means many of the fires can burn without threatening homes and villages and laws allow local authorities not to intervene if the cost of fighting fires is greater than the damage caused. The vast landscape of Russia's largest and coldest region – Yakutia-Sakha - has recorded high temperatures and dro..
A US peace envoy has warned the Taliban that any government that comes to power through force in Afghanistan won't be recognised internationally after a series of cities fell to the insurgent group in stunningly quick succession. Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy, traveled to Doha, Qatar, where the Taliban maintain a political office, to tell the group that there was no point in pursuing victory on the battlefield because a military takeover of the capital of Kabul would guarantee they would be global pariahs. He and others hope to persuade Taliban leaders to return to peace talks with the Afghan government as American and NATO forces finish their pullout from the country. READ MORE: First major Afghan city falls in vacuum left by US troop withdrawal The insurgents have captured six out of 34 provincial capitals in the country in less than a week, including Kunduz in Kunduz province — one of the country's largest cities. On Sunday, they planted their flag in the main square, but..
American multinational aerospace company Northrop Grumman's latest space station delivery includes pizza for seven. The company's Cygnus cargo ship rocketed away from Virginia’s eastern shore Tuesday. It should reach the International Space Station on Thursday. READ MORE: Two spacecraft to swoop past Venus within hours of each other The 3,700 kilogram shipment includes fresh apples, tomatoes and kiwi, along with a pizza kit and cheese smorgasbord for the seven station astronauts. Also flying: a mounting bracket for new solar wings launching to the orbiting lab next year, a material simulating moon dust and dirt that will be used to create items from the space station's 3D printer, slime mould for a French educational experiment called Blob and an infrared-detecting device meant as a prototype for future tracking satellites. It is Northrop Grumman’s 16th supply run for NASA and its biggest load yet. The company's Antares rocket hoisted the capsule from NASA's Wa..
A Chinese court has sentenced Canadian Michael Spavor to 11 years on spying charges in case linked to Huawei. Spavor was detained in 2018 after his government arrested an executive of the Chinese tech giant. The verdict Wednesday is the latest indication of how Beijing is stepping up pressure on Canada ahead of a court ruling on whether to hand over the executive, Meng Wanzhou, to face US criminal charges. READ MORE: China upholds Canadian's death sentence as Huawei case looms Spavor and another Canadian were detained in China in what critics labelled "hostage politics" after the executive's 2018 arrest in connection with possible violations of trade sanctions on Iran. On Tuesday, another Chinese court rejected the appeal of a third Canadian whose prison term in a drug case was abruptly increased to death following the executive's arrest. Canadian Ambassador Dominic Barton was present at the hearing in the city of Dandong, about 210 miles (340 kilometres) east of Beijing..
A US police officer is at the centre of a public backlash following the release of a video in which he claims a fellow officer nearly died from drug exposure. San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore, facing sharp criticism from health experts over a public service video that purports to show a deputy's near-death experience from fentanyl exposure, has now acknowledged that he, not a doctor, concluded the deputy overdosed. Experts strongly challenged Mr Gore's finding after the dramatic, four-minute video was released last Thursday, saying it fuelled misunderstanding and unsubstantiated fears about the danger posed by very limited contact with fentanyl. READ MORE: Dangerous drug used to sedate horses killing thousands in the US During the search of a vehicle last month, Deputy David Faiivae reported his face came within about 15 centimetres of a white, powdery substance that tested positive for fentanyl, an opioid that is 50 times more powerful than heroin. The video from police bo..
For the first time in 20 years, botanists have identified a new carnivorous plant on the Pacific coast of North America, but what's good news for science is bad news for insects. The Triantha occidentalis was identified by researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and University of Wisconsin-Madison. The plant, a species of the false asphodel, is a delicate plant that traps insects with sticky hairs on its flowering stem, according to a news release from UBC. The plant is found in boggy but bright areas on the Pacific coast of the US from California to Alaska. Carnivorous plants are usually found in nutrient-poor areas like bogs, and so the plants have to get their nutrition from living prey. READ MORE: Scientists create daddy 'short' legs spiders "Carnivorous plants have fascinated people since the Victorian era because they turn the usual order of things on its head: this is a plant eating animals," co-author Dr Sean Graham said in the release. "We'..
California's largest single wildfire in recorded history kept pushing through forestlands today as fire crews tried to protect rural communities from flames that have destroyed hundreds of homes. Clear skies over parts of the month-old Dixie Fire have allowed aircraft to rejoin nearly 6000 firefighters in the attack this week. “Whether or not we can fly depends very much on where the smoke is. There's still some areas where it's just too smoky,” fire spokesman Edwin Zuniga said. READ MORE: 'We fought a great battle': Greece defends wildfire response Burning through bone-dry trees, brush and grass, the fire by Tuesday local time had destroyed nearly 900 homes and other buildings. Much of the small community of Greenville was incinerated during an explosive run of flames last week. But the reports are “definitely subject to change” because assessment teams still can’t get into many areas to count what burned, Mr Zuniga said. The Dixie Fire, named for the road whe..
The body of missing British hiker Esther Dingley and her equipment have been found in the Pyrenees, nine months after she went missing. The remains were discovered by Ms Dingley's boyfriend Daniel Colegate, two weeks after he found a bone fragment which was confirmed to belong to her. Ms Dingley, from Durham, vanished on a month-long solo trek in November, sparking major searches by French and Spanish police and Mr Colegate, the BBC reports. Since her disappearance, Mr Colegate has trekked hundreds of kilometres in search of his girlfriend. LIVE NEWS UPDATES: Melbourne bracing for lockdown extension He made the discovery on Monday afternoon, overseas crisis support charity LBT Global (formerly the Lucie Blackman Trust), said. The charity said the circumstances surrounding Ms Dingley's death pointed to it most likely being an accident. "At this stage an accident is the most likely hypothesis, given the location and other early indications," LBT Global said in a statement. "A f..
Only 26 people in New Zealand have died from the coronavirus since the pandemic began, after the nation of 5 million managed to completely stamp it out its spread. But a big question has arisen. Is it realistic for the country to maintain its zero-tolerance approach, which has included strict lockdowns for even small outbreaks, once it begins to reopen its borders? The answer from an expert group advising the government is a resounding "Yes." READ MORE: New Zealand apologises for historic raids on Pacific people Chaired by epidemiologist David Skegg, the group said in a highly anticipated report released Wednesday that it believes it's possible to maintain an elimination strategy even after more people start arriving. The group said that many countries such as Britain and the US were already resigned to living with the virus and perhaps enduring seasonal surges. "By contrast, New Zealand has the opportunity to continue to enjoy a lifestyle that is relatively unaffected by the ra..
Scientists have warned for decades that we were changing the climate in a way that would have devastating impacts on the planet and our lives. A landmark report on Monday showed that's already happening, and faster than we expected. The findings, by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), serve as a stern wake-up call for politicians, business leaders and policy makers, who in just 12 weeks will meet for the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow to address the biggest existential challenge in human history. For decades, global policy has lagged behind the science, but leaders and big business are now being forced to play catch-up as their constituents and clients battle heat waves, wildfires and floods that are proving costly and deadly. READ MORE: Key takeaways from the UN report on the climate crisis "You've got the politicians being squeezed by the science, which is confirming a sense of alarm and fear, you've got the science now in the public mind," said To..