Wildfires raze dozens of homes in New Zealand

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — Wildfires have destroyed up to 50 homes in New Zealand, authorities announced Monday, saying it was a miracle no one was hurt as “a wall of orange” razed most of a remote South Island village. The blaze began in a mountain forest early Sunday morning and, fanned by strong winds, swept through the village of Lake Ohau, forcing residents to flee for their lives. Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) […]

‘Like wolves to Yellowstone’: Tasmanian devils released on Australian mainland

by Holly ROBERTSON Agence France-Presse SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Tasmanian devils have been released into the wild on Australia’s mainland 3,000 years after the feisty marsupials went extinct there, in what conservationists described Monday as a “historic” step. Aussie Ark, along with a coalition of other conservation groups, revealed Monday that they had released 26 of the carnivorous mammals into a 400-hectare (1,000-acre) sanctuary at Barrington Tops, about 3.5 hours north of Sydney. Tim Faulkner, […]

California wildfires turn beloved Napa wine spots to ash

by Glenn CHAPMAN Agence France-Presse CALISTOGA, California (AFP) — The Silverado Trail has long been a place of dreams for Napa Valley wine lovers as it winds gently through vineyards and on to Calistoga. California’s Glass Fire turned much of that dream to ash, destroying a 3-star restaurant at Meadowood resort, torching wineries such as Chateau Boswell, and tainting precious grapes with smoke. The United States’s west coast is experiencing a record-breaking fire season, with […]

Changing economy and climate hit Austria’s Alpine pastures

by Blaise GAUQUELIN Agence France-Presse PERTISAU, Austria (AFP) — With tender care, Sepp Rieser adorns the bulky heads of his reluctant cows with flower wreaths, adds some more fir twigs, and adjusts the large bells around their necks. “I’ve been doing this since I was a little boy,” Rieser says of the ancestral tradition in which cattle are decorated for their journey from the high Alpine Gramai pasture in Austria’s western Tyrol state, where they graze […]

Oil exploration up in the air as prices dive

by Benoît PELEGRIN Agence France-Presse The coronavirus pandemic that has slammed oil demand and prices is forcing energy majors to tighten their belts on exploration, even if finding new deposits remain essential to their existence. While the sector is increasingly diversifying into greener energies such as electricity and wind power, its core business remains oil and gas. “Questions abound over whether it is still profitable to look for oil given subdued demand growth prospects and […]

Antarctic Peninsula at warmest in decades: study

SANTIAGO Chile (AFP) — The year 2020 is the hottest in the Antarctic Peninsula in the past three decades, a study by the University of Santiago de Chile out Friday found. Between January and August, temperatures reached between 2 and 3 degrees Celsius (35.6 and 37.4 degrees Fahrenheit) on the peninsula, which is the northernmost part of mainland Antarctica, according to researchers at the Chilean Air Force’s Frei Base on King George Island. Those temperatures are […]

Fires spike in Brazil’s Amazon, scientists say

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AFP) — The number of forest fires in Brazil’s Amazon increased sharply in September, figures released Thursday show, fueling growing criticism of President Jair Bolsonaro’s environmental policies. The National Institute of Space Research (INPE) said satellite imagery showed an increase of 61 percent in the number of fires in September, compared to the same period last year. Satellites used by the institute detected 32,017 outbreaks last month in the Amazon, compared […]

Treetop protests in Roald Dahl forest against UK rail line

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Environmental campaigners demonstrated on the London streets and in tree-tops in the English countryside on Thursday against the construction of a new high-speed train line. Police removed 15 activists who had climbed trees in woodland in Buckinghamshire, north of London, which are said to have inspired the fantasy world of Roald Dahl’s children’s books, while another group marched on parliament. The HS2 project, which could cost up to £100 billion […]

Forest fire blazes near Ukraine front line, killing 9

KIEV, Ukraine (AFP) — At least nine people have died and 14 others have been injured in forest fires in eastern Ukraine near the front line of Kiev’s conflict with Moscow-backed separatists, the emergency services said Thursday. Ukraine has sent 1,200 firefighters to battle the blaze which officials in one village near the frontline said was detonating unexploded shells previously fired over by pro-Russian separatists. Investigators were trying to determine the cause of the fire […]

Cambridge University to scrap fossil fuel investment

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Britain’s Cambridge University on Thursday pledged to stop investing in fossil fuels by 2030, bowing to pressure from environmentalists including its own students. The world-renowned seat of learning in eastern England said the pledge is part of its overall goal to slash carbon emissions to zero by 2038 — well ahead of the UK government’s 2050 target. The institution will now switch its £3.5-billion ($4.5-billion, 3.8-billion-euro) endowment fund — one […]

NET25 “Happy Time” host Kitkat wins “Best Noontime Show Host”, “Most Outstanding Comedian” in Gawad Amerika awards

  (Eagle News) – Comedian-singer Kitkat, one of the hosts of EBC-NET 25’s noontime show “Happy Time” was chosen as “Best Noontime Show Host,” as well as “Most Outstanding Comedian in the Field of Humanitarian Services” by the 19th Annual Gawad Amerika Awards Night. The award’s night is set on Nov. 21 this year at the Celebrity Center International in Franklin Avenue, Los Angeles, California. Charles Simbulan, the CEO and Founding President of the Gawad […]

Second Russian virus vaccine passes early trials: report

  MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — Early clinical trials of a second Russian coronavirus vaccine have proved successful, its developer said Thursday after Russia boasted of approving the world’s first vaccine. Russia’s Vektor — a top-secret state virology research centre in Siberia — said that early-stage trials were successful for its own experimental vaccine, named EpiVacCorona. “The first two phases of clinical trials demonstrated the effectiveness and safety of the EpiVacCorona vaccine,” Vektor’s press department told […]