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Our fire season is just ending, and:
A state of emergency has been declared in New South Wales as Australian firefighters battle bushfires that have already destroyed more than 200 homes.BBC
The announcement comes as conditions look set to deteriorate with soaring temperatures and strong winds expected to fan the flames in the coming days.
The Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, has been the worst-hit region with some fires still raging out of control.
State officials say they are the most dangerous conditions in 40 years.
New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell said the declaration would give emergency services additional powers over the next 30 days.
More than 8,000 calls have made to a Greek charity after an appeal to discover the identity of a young blonde girl found living on a Roma settlement.This beats the Duggars all hollow.
DNA tests revealed the child, known as Maria and aged about four, was not related to the couple she lived with.
A woman aged 40 and 39-year-old man are to appear before judges on Monday on charges of abducting a minor and of holding false papers.
The Roma community where the girl was found has rallied around them.
The head of the Roma association in Farsala in central Greece says the couple treated her better than their biological children and that she loved them.
The brother of the man claiming to be Maria's father repeated the defence that she had been given to them lawfully after her birth, our correspondent says.
The woman claimed to have given birth to six children within a 10-month period.
Police in India say they have arrested the crew of a US-owned ship accused of illegally entering Indian waters with a huge cache of weapons on board.CNet
Officials say MV Seaman Guard Ohio was detained on 12 October by the Indian Coast Guard and is currently anchored at a port in southern Tamil Nadu state.
Its 35-member crew include Indians, Britons, Ukrainians and Estonians.
The ship's owner, AdvanFort, said the vessel was involved in supporting anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean.
But there have been differing accounts of the chain of events from the Indian authorities and the US-based security firm.
The National Security Agency eavesdropped on the Mexico government by systematically infiltrating an e-mail server and hacking the e-mail account of a former Mexico president, according to a classified documents reviewed by Der Spiegel.N Y Times
The e-mail domain, which was also used by other members of Mexico's cabinet, contained "diplomatic, economic and leadership communications which continue to provide insight into Mexico's political system and internal stability," according to a 2010 report provided to the German newspaper by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The hack of former president Felipe Calderon's e-mail was conducted by an agency department called Tailored Access Operations and proved to be "a lucrative source" of information, the newspaper said the documents revealed.
China’s Arms Industry Makes Global Inroads
BEIJING — From the moment Turkey announced plans two years ago to acquire a long-range missile defense system, the multibillion-dollar contract from a key NATO member appeared to be an American company’s to lose.L A Times
For years, Turkey’s military had relied on NATO-supplied Patriot missiles, built by the American companies Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, to defend its skies, and the system was fully compatible with the air-defense platforms operated by other members of the alliance.There were other contenders for the deal, of course. Rival manufacturers in Russia and Europe made bids. Turkey rejected those — but not in favor of the American companies. Its selection last month of a little-known Chinese defense company, China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp oration, stunned the military-industrial establishment in Washington and Brussels.
Better known for its handy pocketknives and Vatican guards than for fighting wars, the Swiss Army of conscripts is still necessary to protect the Alpine federation and its nearly 200-year-old policy of neutrality, voters have decided.N Y Times
In the third referendum on conscription in 25 years, Swiss voters defeated a pacifist group's proposal to abolish the draft with a resounding 73% no vote on Sunday.
The abolitionists from the Switzerland Without an Army group had argued that the 4.7 billion Swiss francs ($5.1 billion) spent to keep 155,000 troops at the ready was a waste of taxpayer funds in a country that was last involved in war more than two centuries ago following the French invasion under Napoleon Bonaparte.
SAN BRUNO, Calif. — A plucky Silicon Valley company, forced to compete for talented engineers, is trying it all — recruiting billboards on Highway 101; workplace perks like treadmill workstations and foosball tables; and conference rooms named after celebrities like Rihanna and Justin Bieber.CNN
The name of that arriviste company?
The country’s largest retailer, which for years didn’t blink at would-be competitors, is now under such a threat from Amazon that it is frantically playing catch-up by learning the technology business, including starting @WalmartLabs, its dot-com headquarters.
Bristol, Rhode Island (CNN) -- The Willcox family has long been accustomed to prolonged absences from their seafaring patriarch.L A Times
In fact, run-ins with the law were not unusual, given the fact that Peter Willcox had spent decades working for the environmental activist group Greenpeace, which is well-known for its provocative, headline-grabbing protests.
But no one expected the 60-year-old mariner to end up languishing in a Russian jail in the Arctic, facing up to 15 years in prison on charges of piracy.
"The situation he's in now is just way too extreme," said his wife, Maggy.
She and other members of the Willcox family spoke to CNN in their first media interviews since Russian authorities arrested 30 passengers and crew members aboard the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise last month.
Campaign to map earthquake faults has slowed to a crawl
After the 1971 Sylmar earthquake, California began an ambitious effort to map faults across the state.L A Times
Over the next two decades, officials published 534 maps of active earthquake faults. New construction was prohibited on top of these fissures because previous quakes showed that buildings could be torn apart during violent shaking.
But the mapping campaign has slowed to a crawl — with many dangerous faults still undocumented.
Since 1991, only 23 have been drawn. Because of budget cuts, none were completed between 2004 and 2011, according to records reviewed by The Times.
State officials said there are still about 300 maps to draw and even more to revise — including some in heavily populated areas of Southern California. That represents about 2,000 miles of faults statewide.
This squat concrete building was once a chicken coop, but now it's part of a farm with an entirely different kind of livestock — millions of cockroaches.This shouldn't be news, but....
Inside, squirming masses of the reddish-brown insects dart between sheets of corrugated metal and egg cartons that have been tied together to provide the kind of dark hiding places they favor.
Wang Fuming kneels down and pulls out one of the nests. Unaccustomed to the light, the roaches scurry about, a few heading straight up his arm toward his short-sleeve shirt.
"Nothing to be afraid of," Wang counsels visitors who are shrinking back into the hallway, where stray cockroaches cling to a ceiling that's perilously close overhead.
Although cockroaches evoke a visceral dread for most people, Wang looks at them fondly as his fortune — and his future.
L A Times
In a city that averages about one slaying a day, Los Angeles has not had a homicide in nine days, a stretch that has not been seen since 2010, according to figures from the Los Angeles Police Department.
"If you would have told me 20 years ago that we would go nine days without a homicide, I would have never believed it," Cmdr. Andy Smith said Friday.
Since 2000, the longest the city has gone without a slaying was 10 days, from Aug. 30 to Sept. 8, 2010, according to figures compiled by the department.