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A large forest fire is approaching the Canadian oil-town of Fort McMurray. On 15 May it was reported that the fire had spread significantly because of dry conditions and strong wind.

Local authoroties have ordered some 6000 people to evacuate, but others are leaving voluntarily and don't wait for evacuation orders. Some people said they don't want to live through the same situation as in 2016 again, when fires destroyed 2400 homes and 90,000 people were evacuated because of fires.

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Flooding and landslides have caused over 50 fatalities in the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Continuing rains have cuase mudslides that inundated several districts in the western part of the island.

More than 3000 people were evacuated.

Meteorologists say that global warming causes seawater temperatures to rise, which in turn causes heavier and longer rains.

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Continuous rain has resulted in flooding in the state of Rio Grande do Sul in the south of Brazil. Some 115,000 people have been evacuated and the death toll stood at 78 on 6 May.

Roads and bridges have been destroyed and almost half a million people were without electricity. it is the third time in a short period that the region has been devastated, as there were also floodings in September and November last year.

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Heavy rainfall has caused several dams to collapse in the western part of Curaçao during the night between 3 and 4 May. Large parts of the island were flooded, incuding Jandino Asporaat national Park. There were no reports of victims.

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Thousands of inhabitants from the Indonesian island of Ruang are being resettled permanently, the Indonesian government decided on 4 May. The decision has been amde out of fear that the volcano might erupt and the continuous danger it poses.

There have been several eruptions in April. Most of the inhabitants have already been evacuated, but now they are not allowed to return. New dwellings will be built on the island of Sulawesi, some 200 km from Ruang.

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Could mud buildings protect us against climate change? In Agadez, a desert city in Niger, people think they can. Locals have been building mud houses there for centuries. The isolating effect is stunning. When it's hot outside, inside its cool and vice versa.

Newer dwellings in the city have been built using concrete and there is a notable difference. The concrete buildings are hot during the day and get very cold at night. It is more expensive as well.

Local architects hope that people in Agadez will continue to prefer mud buildings over concrete ones.

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Destination of the week

On these pages a different destination will be highlighted every week. Sometimes it's a tourist trap like one of the Spanish resorts; sometimes we will bring you detailed information on some more exotic places.

This week we will have a closer look at AustraliaAustralia

Australia's most famous icons are probably Sydney's Opera House and the blood-red Uluru (Ayers Rock), but there's a lot more to see in this enormous country. Australia's natural treasures and its rich cultural diversity make it one of the world's most interesting destinations.

Australia offers a wide range of travel experiences, ranging from the vastness and drama of the outback to the spectacle of the Great Barrier Reef and its islands. The country is also home to cosmopolitan Sydney and some of the best beaches in the world.

The only drawback is the sheer size of the country. Without boarding domestic flights, it is almost impossible to see some of Australia's sights within a reasonable time limit. These flights make any trip to the country expensive.

Australia can be visited any time of year. Summer is from December to February and can get uncomfortably hot just about anywhere, including Tasmania. The southern states have great beach weather during that time of year. Up north, summer is the wet season. The air is very humid and the sea is swarming with box jellyfish. The Top End is beautifully green and there are few tourists.

June to August is winter in Australia. It's a good time to visit Queensland or the outback. On the snowfields of New South Wales and Victoria, skiing is possible most winters.

During spring and autumn the weather is reasonably mild wherever you are. Spring brings out the wildflowers in the outback. Autumn is particularly beautiful around Canberra and in the Victorian Alps. Try to avoid Easter or just before Christmas if you don't like holiday road chaos.

Click on the images to learn more about this interesting destination. A map of Australia will open full-screen. Just click on towns and places you want to know more about.

Next week: Finland

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Global warming could doom hundreds of land plants and animals to extinction over the next 50 years by marooning them in harsh, changed surroundings, scientists warn.

A sweeping new analysis enlisting scientists from 14 laboratories around the globe found that more than one-third of 1103 native species they studied could vanish or plunge to near extinction by 2050 as climate change turns plains into deserts or alters forests.

Among the already threatened species that could go extinct are Australia's Boyd's forest dragon, Europe's azure-winged magpie and Mexico's Jico deer mouse.

The researchers concede there are many uncertainties in both climate forecasts and the computer models they used to forecast future extinctions. But they said their dire conclusions may well come to pass if industrial nations do not curtail emissions of greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere.