‘Alarming’ bleaching of Maldives corals: conservationists

GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) – Coral reefs in the Maldives are under severe stress after suffering mass bleaching this year as sea temperatures soared, a top conservationist body warned Monday. Around 60 percent of Maldives’ coral colonies have been bleached, with the figure reaching 90 percent in some areas, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said in a statement. It cited data from a survey it carried out with the Maldives Marine Research Center […]

Laulhère, the last historic beret factory in France

The Laulhère company has become something of a French institution… It’s the last remaining historic factory producing distinct and 100% homegrown French berets, which it’s been doing for 200 years. Having survived the threat of bankruptcy, the company is now growing and its berets are even worn by princesses and movie stars.

Indonesian crocodile catchers to snap up prizes

KUPANG, Indonesia (AFP) — An Indonesian city has hit on an original idea to rid its popular beaches of crocodiles — it will offer cash prizes to people who catch the man-eating reptiles, an official said Friday. The population of dangerous saltwater crocodiles around two beaches near Kupang in eastern Indonesia has been increasing in recent years and there have been reports of tourists being attacked. Authorities now plan to launch a competition offering cash […]

Videographic explaining how hurricanes form

(AFP) Hong Kong shut down Tuesday as Typhoon Nida brought violent winds and torrential rain, with hundreds of flights cancelled and the stock market, schools and businesses closed, as the storm headed across southern China. Videographic explaining how hurricanes – also known as cyclones or typhoons – form. Marian Henbest Stéphane Koguc / AFP Videographics / AFP

Dutch activists sue government over air pollution

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AFP) – Dutch environmentalists said Tuesday they are suing the government over poor air quality, saying people’s “fundamental” rights to good health were being infringed. In a lawsuit filed on Monday, the Milieudefensie group alleged “the Netherlands exceeds the legal standards for air quality and is violating fundamental human rights by doing too little to combat air pollution.” “This pollution causes thousands of deaths every year, and leaves tens of thousands of people […]

Lava from Kilauea volcano reaches ocean for first time since 2013

Lava cascaded off of cliffs on Hawaii’s big island on Wednesday (July 27), marking the first time since 2013 that one of Kilauea’s lava flows reached the ocean. Lava from the volcano, located in Hawaii volcanoes national park, began erupting in late May and has been continuously moving on a six-mile journey towards the coast. Authorities have said the lava poses no threat to any towns, but have cautioned tourists to keep their distance. Despite […]

‘Talking donkeys’ entertain London

ENGLAND, United Kingdom (Reuters) — A self-proclaimed ‘donkey whisperer’ is encouraging people to better understand donkeys’ emotions and mannerisms with the help of technology. Mark Ineson, owner of ‘Real Donkeys’, has been studying the animals for more than 20 years and says they are very emotive creatures. “We get the nudges, we get the facial expressions, we get the like dogs give a paw, he lifts a leg to show his emotions that way,” said […]

South China Sea “Blue Hole” declared world’s deepest

Eagle News — China has discovered the “World’s Largest Hole”, state broadcaster CCTV announced on Wednesday July 27, saying a 300m cavern in a disputed area of the South China Sea is deeper than Dean’s blue hole in the Bahamas, the official world’s deepest salt water blue hole. Named the “Dragon’s hole”, the blue hole lies within the disputed Paracel Islands, administered by china but also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam. Professor Yang Zuosheng of […]

Raging wildfire engulfs California homes, film set

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Thousands of firefighters battled Monday to contain a blaze tearing through California’s Santa Clarita valley, destroying homes and a popular filming location and threatening actress Tippi Hedren’s animal sanctuary. The so-called Sand Fire in suburban Los Angeles has scorched more than 51 square miles (132 square kilometers) of brush, threatening at least 2,000 properties and forcing an estimated 20,000 residents to flee. About 10,000 homes have been evacuated since […]

Russian wildfires put key climate resource at risk

by Maria ANTONOVA MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — Russia’s practice of leaving massive wildfires to burn out of control in sprawling stretches of Siberia puts at risk a key global resource for absorbing climate-warming emissions: its trees. The blazes are consuming millions of hectares of pristine Boreal forests in Russia, which are second only to the world’s tropical jungles in capturing planet-warming carbon emissions. At the same time, the drier and harsher conditions associated with a […]