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Nature perturbed: icy darkness in N Amer; 1st-time-in-100-yrs heatwave cooks egg on court at Australia Open in 60C

Australian Open tennis tournament

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Above: players and fans at the Australian Open tennis tournament did their best to keep cool.

heatwave: cooking an egg in 10 minutes on an outside court at the Australia Open, 2009
An egg cooked after ten minutes on an outside court where air temperatures reached 60C. The official temperature in the shade at 4.53 pm was 45.4C, the hottest since 1908.

heatwave in Australia buckles rail lines
A heatwave scorching southern Australia, causing transport chaos by buckling rail lines and leaving more than 140,000 homes without power, is a sign of climate change, the government said.

one of the worst heatwaves in recent history in Australia
"It is the worst heatwave most will have lived through," senior forecaster Terry Ryan said in a front-page story headlined "Heat Wave Hell". But this lot looked like they were enjoying it.

Heatwave in Melbourne plays havoc with the Australian Open  read more »

Feb. 4, 1789, George Washington was elected 1st president of America. 1989 Time cover saw Founding Father in tears

Time Cover Story (Oct. 23, 1989): The Can't Do Government

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Monday, Oct. 23, 1989, Time Magazine Cover Story: The Can't Do Government

After almost nine years of the Reagan Revolution, Americans may wonder whether the Government -- from Congress to the White House, from the State Department to the Office of Management and Budget -- can govern at all anymore. Abroad and at home, challenges are going unmet. Under the shadow of a massive federal deficit that neither political party is willing to confront, a kind of neurosis of accepted limits has taken hold from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other.

On this day, February 4 in 1789, 69 members of Congress cast their ballots to elect George Washington the first president of the United States. As the former leader of the Continental Army and chairman of the Continental Congress, Washington possessed the necessary credentials for the presidency, if not the enthusiasm. After months of appearing to sidestep, and even outright rejecting the idea of assuming the presidency, Washington reluctantly accepted Congress’ decision. Runner-up John Adams became Washington’s vice president.

portrait of George Washington by Rembrandt Peale  read more »

Economy in recession, Paris fashion in session - Haute Couture Fashion Week 2009

the couture shows started in Paris today

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PARIS – Looking at the shows that kicked off Paris' haute couture week on Monday, you'd never know the world was the midst of the most serious financial turmoil since the Great Depression.

models present creations by French fashion house Jean Paul Gaultier, Armenian fashion designer Veronique Nichanian in Paris, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009

Designers here delivered opulent, flamboyant collections that, instead of reflecting the gloomy economic reality, transported the viewer into a world of beauty and fantasy. "My job is to make women dream," Christian Dior designer John Galliano told The Associated Press. "Of course I'm aware of the credit crunch, but it is not a creative crunch - not at the house of Dior, anyway."

Haute Couture Fashion Week - Giorgio Armani Prive S/S 2009  read more »

Estranged couple saws house - man moves half to parents' place, wife lives in precariously perched, upright half

half a house remains after husband Moeun Sarim took the bits and pieces of the portion of the house he shared with his wife Vat Navy

Cambodian wedding ceremonies are blissful and beautiful affairs. However, the country's convoluted - and probably costly - divorce process has knocked a simple and efficient solution into the mind of an estranged Cambodian couple on how to separate marital assets easily and equally, including dividing a house into two halves. Literally.

Cambodian children

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A Cambodian couple who separated after 40 years of marriage may have taken things too literally when it came to splitting their assets: the husband cut the house in two. "It is the strangest thing I've ever seen," said May Titthara, who wrote about the case for The Phnom Penh Post, an English-language newspaper in the Cambodian capital. "People there never saw this happen in a divorce. It is very interesting for them."

wedding in Cambodia

Moeun Rim and his wife, Nhanh, split the building following an argument. Mr Rim has removed his share of the property and the couple have also divided their land into four parts; two for their children, and two for them. Divorce cases in Cambodia can be costly and may take a long time to settle.  read more »

"SOS Amazon": 1st action of Amazon tribes, sending message "Wake Up, World!" at 2009 World Social Forum in Brazil

while world leaders are gathering in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, an alternative meeting is taking place in Brazil

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BELÉM, Brazil, Jan 27 (IPS) - A human banner made up of more than 1,000 people, seen and photographed from the air, sent the message "SOS Amazon" to the world, in the first action taken by indigenous people hours before the opening in northern Brazil on Tuesday of the 2009 World Social Forum (WSF).

gathering in Belém, a city at the mouth of the Amazon, for the six-day World Social Forum (WSF)

The mass message reflects "our concern about global warming, whose impact we will be the first to feel, although we, the peoples of the Amazon, have protected and cared for the forests," Francisco Avelino Batista, an Apurinán Indian from the Purus river valley in the Brazilian Amazon, told IPS.

September 1988, Rondonia State, Brazil: Newly cleared land. Soya farming is one of the primary drivers of deforestation in the Amazon  read more »

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. - William Shakespeare

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.

— William Shakespeare

ebook Quotable Wit and Wisdom - Collection 1 available via Amazon Kindle eBooks and Apple iBookstore

"SOS Amazon": every second we lose 1.5 acres of rainforests once covering 14% of earth land surface, now a mere 6%

SOS: save the Amazon

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The Disappearing Rainforests

We are losing Earth's greatest biological treasures just as we are beginning to appreciate their true value. Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth's land surface; now they cover a mere 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years.

June 1989, Brazil: The forest burns

* One and one-half acres of rainforest are lost every second with tragic consequences for both developing and industrial countries.

* Rainforests are being destroyed because the value of rainforest land is perceived as only the value of its timber by short-sighted governments, multi-national logging companies, and land owners.

left: walking leaves (Phyllidae) are closely related to stick insects. Crater Mountain, Papua New Guinea; right: only the inappropriate perch gives away these leaf bugs (Phromnia) in Ankarafantsika National Park, Madagascar

* Nearly half of the world's species of plants, animals and microorganisms will be destroyed or severely threatened over the next quarter century due to rainforest deforestation.  read more »

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