Burned tigers, rescued kangaroos: Australia bushfire disinformation

by Johnny Lieu Agence France-Presse SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Tiger burns in Australia’s bushfires? It’s a 2012 photo from Indonesia. Young girl rescues koala? Actually an artist’s impression. Social media is packed with powerful images of Australia’s bushfires — but many are fake. As deadly blazes tear across southeastern Australia, false or deliberately misleading images and claims have proliferated online, in languages from Arabic to Hindi. AFP Fact Check works to debunk online misinformation. Here […]

Snipers to cull up to 10,000 camels in drought-stricken Australia

  by Holly ROBERTSON Agence France Presse SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Snipers took to helicopters in Australia on Wednesday to begin a mass cull of up to 10,000 camels as drought drives big herds of the feral animals to search for water closer to remote towns, endangering indigenous communities. Local officials in South Australia state said “extremely large” herds have been encroaching on rural communities — threatening scarce food and drinking water, damaging infrastructure, and […]

Firestorms: How Australia’s bushfires created their own weather

  SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Australia’s bushfires have burned so intensely that they have hurled smoke as far away as Chile. They have also created their own weather systems, including deadly “firestorms” that produce dry lightning and cannot be contained. – How do firestorms happen? – Scientists are still trying to understand how firestorms are created although weather, terrain, vegetation and the characteristics of the fire itself all play a role. But the basics are […]

JetBlue to go carbon neutral by July 2020

NEW YORK, United States  (AFP) — No-frills US airline JetBlue will go carbon neutral for all domestic flights starting this summer, the company announced Monday. The carrier said it will be the first major US airline to do so in a bid to reduce its contributions to global warming. The company also said it would begin using “sustainable aviation fuel” on flights from San Francisco later this year. “We reduce where we can and offset where […]

Australia’s ‘insurance’ koala population halved by bushfires

by Glenda KWEK Agence France-Presse SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — At least half of Australia’s only disease-free koala population, a key “insurance” for the species’ future, is feared dead with more badly hurt after bush-fires swept through an island sanctuary, rescuers said Sunday. Kangaroo Island, a popular nature-based tourist attraction off the coast of South Australia state, is home to many wild populations of native animals including the much-loved koala, where the populated was estimated at […]

Barcelona bans older, most polluting cars

MADRID, Spain (AFP) — Barcelona imposed a ban Thursday on older, more polluting vehicles during most of the day in a bid to reduce air pollution in Spain’s second largest city. Gasoline-powered cars registered in Spain before 2000, and diesel-powered cars registered before 2006 are now banned from most city streets on weekdays between 7:00 am and 8:00 pm and face a fine of at least 100 euros ($112) if they violate the rule. All banned vehicles […]

2019 was hottest year on record for Russia

  MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — This year was the hottest ever registered in Russia, the country’s weather chief said on Monday, as climate change pushes global temperatures to record highs. “This year in Russia was the hottest for the entire period of instrumental observations,” the head of the Gidromedtsentr weather service, Roman Vilfand, told Russian news agencies. He said Moscow’s average temperature for 2019 had hit 7.6-7.7 degrees Celsius (45.7-45.9 degrees Fahrenheit), beating the previous […]

Rhino believed to be ‘world’s oldest’ dies aged 57 in Tanzania

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (AFP) — A black rhino believed to be the oldest in the world has died in Tanzania at the age of 57, according to authorities in Ngorongoro where the animal was living. The female rhino, named Fausta, died of what is believed to be natural causes on December 27 in a sanctuary, after living most of her life in the wild, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority said in a statement on […]

Climate change caused 15 disasters costing over $1 bn this year: charity

PARIS, France (AFP) — At least 15 natural disasters linked to climate change this year caused damage of over $1 billion and seven of them cost at least $10 billion, British charity Christian Aid said Friday. This year is set to be the second hottest year in history and each of the disasters in the report has a link with climate change, Christian Aid said. “Extreme weather, fueled by climate change, struck every corner of […]

Elephants in Thailand ‘broken’ for lucrative animal tourism

by Sophie DEVILLER and Jonathan KLEIN Agence France Presse Separated from their mothers, jabbed with metal hooks, and sometimes deprived of food — many Thai elephants are tamed by force before being sold to lucrative tourism sites increasingly advertised as ‘sanctuaries’ to cruelty-conscious travelers. Balanced precariously on hind legs, two-year-old Ploy holds a ball in her trunk and flings it towards a hoop, one of many tricks she is learning in Ban Ta Klang, a […]

‘Not a single species’ affected by Galapagos fuel spill

Quito, Ecuador (AFP) — The Galapagos Islands’ unique wildlife was spared after a barge carrying 600 gallons of diesel fuel sank, causing a spill, the Ecuador government told AFP Monday. “Not a single species has been affected by the spill in San Cristobal,” the easternmost island in the chain, said Environment Minister Raul Ledesma. He added that a team of veterinarians was onsite checking animals. Authorities activated emergency protocols Sunday morning to contain the environmental […]

India leads world in pollution linked deaths: study

India leads the world in pollution-linked deaths followed by China and Nigeria, according to a report published Wednesday that estimated the global impact of contaminants in the air, water and workplace. The report by the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP) found pollution to be the largest environmental cause of premature death on the planet, causing 15 percent of all deaths — some 8.3 million people. Among the ten countries with the most pollution […]