Monday, August 8

World

Australia’s environment in ‘shocking’ decline, report finds
World

Australia’s environment in ‘shocking’ decline, report finds

Australia's environment is in a "poor and deteriorating state", according to the latest State of the Environment Report. Climate change, mining, pollution, invasive species and habitat loss are outlined in the five-yearly report that has been released on Tuesday, with Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek laying the blame squarely at the feet of the previous Coalition government. "It tells a story of crisis and decline in Australia's environment [and] of a decade of government inaction and wilful ignorance," Plibersek said. The report was handed to the Morrison government in December last year, but former environment minister Sussan Ley did not release it before the election. The lead author of the report, Emma Johnston from the University of Sydney, said the biggest difference ...
James Webb Space Telescope comes closer to home with new images of Jupiter
World

James Webb Space Telescope comes closer to home with new images of Jupiter

Hot on the heels of last week's release of the first images from Nasa's James Webb Space Telescope comes something that you can actually see from your backyard: Jupiter. The new images of the giant gas planet were taken during the telescope's commissioning phase, and before science operations officially began on 12 July. "These images of Jupiter demonstrate the full grasp of what Webb can observe, from the faintest, most distant observable galaxies to planets in our own cosmic backyard that you can see with the naked eye from your actual backyard," a scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Bryan Holler, said. Scientists were also especially eager to see these images because they are proof that Webb can observe the satellites and rings near bright solar sys...
Americans endure ‘dragon’s breath’ heatwave, set to last into next week
World

Americans endure ‘dragon’s breath’ heatwave, set to last into next week

People are planning days around air conditioning in Oklahoma, monitoring the grid in Texas and keeping an eye out for sharks as they try to cool off in New York. Across the United States, Americans have been enduring in some cases dangerously high heat that meteorologists say will last into next week. More than 100 million people are living under excessive warnings or heat advisories this week, according to the National Weather Service. In Oklahoma City, where a high of 43C (110 Fahrenheit) was predicted Tuesday, Colin Newman, 40, said it hits like "dragon's breath" when he steps outside, even in the early hours. "We plan our days around getting from one air-conditioned place to another," he said. New Yorkers, meanwhile, are expected to venture to the beaches to cool off. Ne...
NASA draws back curtain on Webb space telescope’s first full-colour images
World

NASA draws back curtain on Webb space telescope’s first full-colour images

NASA has revealed stunning images showing billions of years of cosmic evolution with the inaugural batch of photos from the largest, most powerful observatory ever launched to space, saying the luminous imagery showed the telescope exceeds expectations. The first full-colour, high-resolution pictures from the James Webb Space Telescope, designed to peer further than before with greater clarity to the dawn of the universe, were hailed by NASA as a milestone marking a new era of astronomical exploration. Nearly two decades in the making and built under contract by aerospace giant Northrop Grumman, the $US9 billion ($NZ14.6b) infrared telescope was launched on 25 December, 2021. It reached its destination in solar orbit nearly 1.6 million kilometres from Earth a month later. With Web...
Australian bikie brothers face deportation to New Zealand after losing court appeal
World

Australian bikie brothers face deportation to New Zealand after losing court appeal

Two brothers who co-founded a now-outlawed bikie gang - and helped lead the crusade against South Australia's anti-gang laws - face being deported to New Zealand after losing a bid to stop their visas being cancelled. Tom and Perry Mackie migrated from New Zealand in the 1970s and were founding members of the Descendants - a motorcycle group now outlawed under South Australia's anti-bikie laws. Former home affairs minister Peter Dutton cancelled their visas declaring it was in the national interest. A Federal Court judge threw out the brothers' bid to overturn that decision last year. On Friday the Full Court of the Federal Court dismissed another appeal. While lawyers for the men did not dispute that the brothers did not meet the Migration Act's character test, they argued ...
UK heatwave: Hottest day on record likely with highs of up to 42C
World

UK heatwave: Hottest day on record likely with highs of up to 42C

The UK is set to see its hottest day on record, with temperatures on Tuesday expected to reach up to 42C (107.6F). A high of 38.1C was reached in Suffolk today, just short of the UK record of 38.7C set in 2019. Wales recorded its hottest day on record with 37.1C. The Met Office has issued a red extreme heat warning covering much of central, northern, and south-east England. At least four people are believed to have drowned after attempting to escape the heat in rivers and lakes. Network Rail has issued a "do not travel" warning for Tuesday affecting services travelling through the "red zone" of the Met Office's weather warning. The extreme warning, indicating a threat to life, is in place in an area stretching between London, Manchester and York. Peterborough, Caernarfon ...
Interest rates could top 2% in the next year, Bank of England policymaker says
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Interest rates could top 2% in the next year, Bank of England policymaker says

A Bank of England policymaker has said interest rates could reach 2% or higher in the next year in order to tackle inflation. Michael Saunders, a member of the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), said he did not think that such forecasts from financial markets were "implausible or unlikely". "Rather than focus on a precise forecast for Bank Rate over the next year, the key point is that the tightening cycle may, in my view, still have some way to go," he said in a speech at the Resolution Foundation think tank. Interest rates are now 1.25% - up from 0.1% in December. They are expected to go up again at the Bank's next policy meeting in August - the last one before Mr Saunders's departure. The economist warned that even though there are signs of ...
On Greece’s Santorini, 13 cloistered nuns pray for the world
World

On Greece’s Santorini, 13 cloistered nuns pray for the world

Cruise-ship tourists crowding souvenir shops and couples chasing the perfect Instagram sunset throng the alleyway outside the Monastery of St Catherine, steps from Santorini's world-famous volcanic cliffs. Inside this convent on one of the trendiest islands in Greece, a predominantly Christian Orthodox country, 13 cloistered Catholic nuns devote their lives to praying for those visitors and for the world. It's a crucial if often misunderstood mission within the church, where constant prayer is deemed necessary to support more outwardly engaged ministries. "In such a touristy island, the last thing one thinks about is praying — so we are the ones who do it," Sister Lucía María de Fátima, the prioress, said on a recent morning. She and other sisters spoke in the convent's parlou...
UK heatwave: Leeds is so hot that Tropical World is closing for the sake of the animals’ welfare
World

UK heatwave: Leeds is so hot that Tropical World is closing for the sake of the animals’ welfare

Tropical World at Roundhay Park is a butterfly house, licensed zoo and exotic plant collection housed in climate-controlled glasshouses. It is run by Leeds City Council. The building's sections all replicate tropical and desert environments from around the world and are home to species such as terrapins, poison dart frogs, clownfish, octopus, stingrays, seahorses, tropical fish, snakes, lizards, iguanas, parrot, bats and armadillos. The butterfly pupae are supplied by farms in Costa Rica and the Philippines. The attraction said in a statement: "Tropical World will be closed today & tomorrow (18 & 19 July) due to the extreme temperatures. This is to ensure the safety of our visitors and Tropical World staff. This will allow our animal keepers to concentrate solely on the animals a...
Canada’s Rogers wins historic silver in women’s hammer throw at world championship
World

Canada’s Rogers wins historic silver in women’s hammer throw at world championship

Canada’s Camryn Rogers spun four times in the circle, then unleashed a hammer throw that soared straight into the history books. The 23-year-old from Richmond, B.C., threw 75.52 metres to win silver at the world track and field championships on Sunday, not only Canada’s first world medal in women’s hammer, but the country’s first women’s podium finish in a field event — period. But climbing the medal podium in her world debut didn’t come as a huge surprise. It’s been that kind of season for Rogers. It started when she finished fifth in her Olympic debut last summer. “My coach and I have had a plan coming into this championship for, well, basically since we finished at Tokyo last year … dreaming of the podium and having that image in our mind every single time that I throw, every s...