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Sunday, 8 February 2009

Heatwave in Australia

The Australian authorities fear that many have died as a result of one of the worst heatwaves in 100 years to hit the south-east of the country. Many of them were elderly people who had been struggling in the heat.
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The heatwave has also caused power outages in Melbourne, Australia's second biggest city as people turned on air conditioning units to try and keep cool. Trains have been cancelled because the rail lines have buckled in the heat.
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The temperature reached highs of more than 40C in south-eastern states of Victoria and South Australia. Temperatures went up to 45.5C (114F) in Adelaide, its hottest day in 70 years.
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Play at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne was interrupted as temperatures reached 41C (106F) and organisers for the first time enacted their "extreme heat policy".

Bush fires
The drought conditions have led to bush fires in southern Australia. The death toll has reached at least 84, the worst in the country's history. Thousands of firefighters, aided by the army, battled several major fires, and the number of dead is expected to rise as fires are put out.
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Arsonists responsible for lighting the fires could be charged with murder, police have said. Entire towns have been destroyed in the fires, fanned by extremely high temperatures and unpredictable winds.
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Text sources: www.bbc.co.uk/news
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