Daily News Roundup

July 10, 2020

NASA Image of Siberia on Fire

FRIDAY, JULY 10

COVID-19 Update

Victoria recorded 165 new coronavirus cases yesterday, its second-highest daily case total. Eight of the nine public housing towers placed in total lockdown last weekend will move to stage three restrictions today after the completion of testing.

National cabinet will review the hotel quarantine system today, with plans to limit the number of international flights allowed into Australia.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned it will be several weeks before NSW knows whether COVID-19 has made a resurgence despite closing the border with Victoria. The state confirmed three new locally acquired cases yesterday, all in Albury and connected to a person who had travelled to Melbourne.

The World Health Organisation’s top official has urged countries to “open up” to scrutiny during an impending international investigation into the deadly coronavirus pandemic, blasting a “lack of leadership and solidarity” during the crisis.

There have been more than 12.1 million cases of coronavirus recorded since the start of the pandemic, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally. The global death toll has passed 550,000.

From 12pm today Queensland will open their border to everyone except Victoria as they bunker down to another 6 weeks of lockdown in select areas of Victoria. NSW recorded 14 new cases overnight with the Premier Gladys Berejiklian following suit of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk by closing the NSW borders to Victoria. 

Queensland recorded 0 cases overnight with Annastacia warning people coming into Queensland today to expect lengthy delays as the rules and regulations become stricter to protect the state from further Corona Virus infection. 

“Please, if you’re thinking about coming today, maybe think about changing your plans,” Ms Palaszczuk told Today.

“You could be sitting in traffic for hours.

“So please be prepared.”

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The search for missing Glee actress Naya Rivera has resumed on a lake in southern California as authorities attempt to piece together what happened to the popular star and author.

The actress was reported missing on Thursday after her young son, Josey, was found asleep, alone and adrift on a pontoon boat on Lake Piru, a reservoir located in Los Padres National Forest in California.

Authorities are now said to be treating the case as a potential drowning.

Police said more than 80 people have been involved in the search, which started at first light, using helicopters, boats, ATVs and officials on the ground.

Journalists on the scene said the water is dark green and murky and authorities have told them they could be searching for days.

Josey was found wearing a life vest and is said to have told authorities he and his mother went swimming earlier in the day but Naya failed to return to the boat.

Rivera’s son was discovered by another boater three hours after she had rented the craft.

The star’s vehicle, a black Mercedes G Wagon, was later found in the car park with her handbag inside.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s department, which is leading the operation, confirmed they had resumed the search as the sun rose above the Topatopa Mountains.

The lake will be closed to the public as dive teams have been called in to help with the frantic search. No other details have yet been released by officials.

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A heatwave thawed Siberia’s tundra. Now, it’s on fire.

A relentless, climate change-driven heatwave has caused a rash of fires on land normally too frozen to burn. Scientists fear it may become a regular occurrence.

For months, Siberia has been experiencing extreme heat due to a combination of persistent sunny weather and human-caused climate change. In addition to producing Arctic temperatures that cracked 100 degrees in June, the heat has fueled an enormous outbreak of wildfires, including fires on tundra underpinned by permafrost—normally frigid soil that is likely becoming even less frozen this year.

If fire becomes a regular occurrence on Siberia’s thawing tundra, it could dramatically reshape entire ecosystems, causing new species to take over and, perhaps, priming the land for more fires. The blazes themselves could also exacerbate global warming by burning deep into the soil and releasing carbon that has accumulated as frozen organic matter over hundreds of years.

“This is not yet a massive contribution to climate change,” says Thomas Smith, an environmental geographer at the London School of Economics who has been tracking the Siberian fires closely. “But it’s certainly a sign that something different is happening.”

A key concern of Arctic scientists is that some of these fires are burning not just across the surface of the tundra, but also down into the soil, through layers of carbon-rich organic matter accumulated over many centuries.

How these fires alter the Arctic’s delicate ecological balance is another important question to be answered. “In terms of ecology, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” says Amber Soja, an associate research fellow with the National Institute of Aerospace and an expert on Siberian wildfires. “This is pretty far north. I think the damage is extensive. And I think it will take a long time [to recover]. Maybe not at all.”

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