CHINA: Continued heavy smog has forced officials to close all expressways in China’s northeastern Heilongjiang province, along with schools and a major airport. Visibility in downtown Harbin has dropped to about 65 feet.
AUSTRALIA: The worst wildfires in 40 years in New South Wales may be easing, but searing temperatures and high winds continue to threaten areas including Sydney’s western suburbs. Firefighters say 26 of 63 wildfires remain uncontained, but schools are expected to reopen tomorrow.
VIOLENCE: Middle school teacher Michael Landsberry survived two tours in Afghanistan but died protecting his students in Sparks, Nev.
SCIENCE: A lot of focus is on the shrinking Arctic ice cap, but Antarctic sea ice has grown for a record second straight year, baffling scientists seeking to understand why it’s expanding in a warming world.
NIGERIA: A must-read (and I avoid saying that often): Inside Nigeria’s terror war with Boko Haram, the terrorist group that has become more even than a movement: “Its name has taken on an incantatory power.”
On the ground around him the ticket taker saw the corpses and remains of passengers, of the touts, his colleagues, the women who sold boiled cassava and roasted fish from plastic tubs carried on their heads. Friends he saw every day were now “separate people parts,” as he put it to me.
… “It’s not unconnected with the quest for the Islamization of the north,” one official said. “They want as much as possible to annihilate the Christians.”
IRAN:A retired California pastor and former volunteer with ChinaAid has been taken into custody inside Iran after protesting the imprisonment of five Iranian Christians.