Australia's east coast declares state of emergency amid 'catastrophic' fire threat
By Colin Packham SYDNEY (Reuters) - Authorities in Australia's Queensland and New South Wales states on Monday declared a state of emergency as the country's eastern region prepared for 'catastrophic' fire conditions. Fires in northern New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland over the weekend killed three people and destroyed more than 150 homes
By Colin Packham
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Authorities in Australia's Queensland and New South Wales states on Monday declared a state of emergency as the country's eastern region prepared for "catastrophic" fire conditions.
Fires in northern New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland over the weekend killed three people and destroyed more than 150 homes.
While Australia's most populous city Sydney avoided the worst of the weekend conditions, temperatures are set to soar to more than 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit), with strong, dry winds.
Authorities raised the forecast for greater Sydney region to catastrophic fire danger for Tuesday, the first time the city has been rated at that level since new fire danger ratings were introduced in 2009.
"Tomorrow is about protecting life, protecting property and ensuring everybody is safe as possible," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.
Authorities warned locals in areas deemed at the greatest risk to evacuate.
"Relocate while things are calm without the pressure or
anxiety of fires bearing down the back door," said NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons.
Fitzsimmons said an additional 400 firefighters on 50 trucks will arrive from the neighbouring state of Victoria to assist local authorities.
Bushfires are a common and deadly threat in Australia’s hot, dry summers, a danger stoked by a sustained period dry weather across the country's east coast.
In 2009, Australia's worst bushfires on record destroyed thousands of homes in Victoria, killing 173 people and injuring 414 on a day the media dubbed "Black Saturday".
(Reporting by Colin Packham. Editing by Lincoln Feast.)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.