Environment

Swiss mountain pass set to lose all ice within weeks

GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — The thick layer of ice that has covered a Swiss mountain pass for centuries will have melted away completely within a few weeks, a ski resort said Thursday. Following a dry winter, the summer heatwaves hitting Europe have been catastrophic for the Alpine glaciers, which have been melting at an accelerated rate. The pass between Scex Rouge and Tsanfleuron has been iced over since at least the Roman era. But as […]

Stranded beluga whale removed from France’s Seine river

SAINT-PIERRE-LA-GARENNE, France (AFP) – The beluga whale stranded in the river Seine in northern France was removed from the water early Wednesday in the first stage of an ambitious rescue operation, an AFP journalist said. After nearly six hours of work, the 800-kilogram (1,800-pound) cetacean was lifted from the river by a net and crane at around 4:00 am (0200 GMT) and placed on a barge under the immediate care of a dozen veterinarians. The […]

Climate deniers use past heat records to sow doubt online

BARCELONA, Spain (AFP) – With Europe gripped by successive heatwaves, climate-change deniers are spreading scepticism by publishing data on social media on extreme temperatures allegedly recorded decades ago to imply scientists are exaggerating global warming. But experts say the figures cited from the past are often incorrect or taken out of context — and even if accurate do not change the fact that heatwaves are becoming more frequent and intense. The posts typically include heat […]

Study shows environmental impact of 57,000 products sold in supermarkets

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) – Eating fruits and vegetables is better for the planet than eating meat and cheese, but a new study by scientists released Monday showed chips and sugary drinks also have a very low environmental impact. Scientists analyzed some 57,000 products sold in supermarkets in Britain and Ireland, in a large study published by the scientific journal PNAS. The researchers, who hope that their study may allow consumers to shop more sustainably […]

Torrential rain, flooding in Seoul kill seven

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — Subway stations and major roads were underwater in the South Korean capital Seoul after record-breaking rains caused severe flooding, with at least seven people dead and seven more missing, officials said Tuesday. Dramatic images shared on social media late Monday showed people wading through waist-deep water, metro stations overflowing, and cars half-submerged in Seoul’s posh Gangnam district after torrential rain battered the city. The downpour that began Monday is the […]

Millions hungry but drought overlooked as Kenya prepares to vote

by Nick Perry Agence France-Presse PURAPUL, Kenya (AFP) — In the dust bowl of Kenya’s drought-stricken north, the people of Purapul are edging closer to starvation, surviving on nothing but wild berries as their children waste away from hunger. Loka Metir knows the bitter fruits make her children sick, further weakening their frail condition. But it hasn’t rained properly in three years, and there’s simply nothing else to eat. “This is the only way to […]

Health fears over Beluga whale spotted in France’s Seine river

RENNES, France (AFP) – A beluga whale that swam up France’s Seine river appears to be underweight and officials are worried about its health, regional authorities said Thursday. The protected species, usually found in cold Arctic waters, had made its way up the waterway and reached a lock some 70 kilometres (44 miles) from Paris. The whale was first spotted Tuesday in the river that flows through the French capital to the English Channel, and […]

Australia backs law to speed carbon emission cuts

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Australia enshrined deeper cuts to carbon emissions in new legislation Thursday, aiming to shed its decade-long reputation as a fossil-fuel-addicted climate laggard. Lawmakers in the lower house of parliament voted 89-55 in favor of a 43 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels, on the path to reaching net zero emissions by 2050. It is expected to go to the Senate for final approval in September. Heavily reliant […]

China vlogger who ate great white shark under investigation

  BEIJING, China (AFP) — A Chinese influencer is under police investigation after a clip of her roasting and eating a great white shark went viral. Footage of the vlogger, popularly known by her online pseudonym Tizi, showed her feasting on the predatory fish, which police in the central city of Nanchong confirmed Sunday was a great white. “It may look vicious, but its meat is truly very tender,” Tizi said while tearing off large […]

Year’s largest fire burns through dry terrain to destroy California homes

Yreka, United States (AFP) — The largest fire in California this year is forcing thousands of people to evacuate as it destroys homes and rips through the state’s dry terrain, whipped up on Sunday by strong winds and lightning storms. The McKinney Fire was zero percent contained as it burned in Klamath National Forest in northern California, CalFire said, spreading more than 51,000 acres near the city of Yreka. It is the largest wildfire in […]

Kentucky flood death toll hits 28 with more bodies expected

by Seth Herald Agence France-Presse JACKSON, United States (AFP) — Kentucky’s governor predicted bodies will continue to be found “for weeks” as the death toll from devastating flooding rose Sunday to 28 and rescuers embarked on a long and grueling effort to locate victims. Some areas in the mountainous region are still inaccessible following the flooding in the state’s east that turned roads into rivers, washed out bridges and swept away houses. Off-and-on rain plus […]

Eight dead in ‘devastating’ Kentucky flooding

by Leandro Lozada Agence France-Presse JACKSON, United States (AFP) — Flash flooding caused by torrential rains has killed at least eight people in eastern Kentucky and left some residents stranded on rooftops and in trees, the governor of the south-central US state said Thursday. The world has been hit by extreme weather events in recent months, incidents that scientists say are an unmistakable sign of climate change. “This is going to be the worst flooding […]