By Ed Stoddard JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa suffered its driest year on record in 2015, the national weather service said on Thursday, as a drought that has threatened the vital maize crop and hit economic growth showed no sign of abating. Average rainfall was 403 mm, about a third less than the 608 mm annual average and the driest since records began in 1904, the service added. The agricultural sector is being hammered by weeks of heat waves that have scorched grazing land, forcing livestock owners to kill or sell animals. The 9 billion rand ($540 million) citrus industry, the second-largest exporter in the world, has been hit by low dam levels and water restrictions, industry sources say. Africa's most advanced economy, usually a maize exporter, may need to import as much as 5 million tonnes this year, roughly half its requirements, the country's largest producer group said last week. Scientists say the drought is being exacerbated by an exceptionally strong El Nino weather pattern, a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific that occurs every few years with ripple effects around the globe. The dry, hot conditions are expected to persist until the start of the southern hemisphere autumn in April or May. El Nino events typically bring drier conditions to Southern Africa and wetter ones to East Africa. Ominously, climate change models suggest this trajectory may become the norm, with Africa's southern, sub-tropical zone becoming warmer and drier while more rainfall comes to the east and tropical regions, according to forecasts from South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. "Warming is projected to occur (in Africa) during the 21st century, with plausible increases of 4–6 °C over the subtropics and 3–5 °C over the tropics by the end of the century," a team of scientists said in a study recently published in the online journal Environmental Research Letters last year. ($1 = 16.5325 rand) (Editing by Andrew Heavens)
- The Telegraph
Steve Baker has apologised to the European Union for ”not always behaving” during Brexit negotiations.
- Associated Press
Yemen's warring sides have failed to reach an agreement to extend a nationwide cease-fire, the U.N. said Sunday, endangering the longest lull in fighting since the country's bloody civil war began. In a statement, the U.N.’s envoy to Yemen called on all sides to refrain from acts of provocation as the talks continue, after the deadline of Oct. 2 for extending the agreement was missed. The U.N.-backed truce initially took effect in April, and raised hopes for a longer pause in fighting as Yemen’s civil war entered in its eighth year.
- Associated Press
South Korean activists say they clashed with police while launching balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang propaganda materials across the North Korean border, ignoring their government’s plea to stop such activities since the North has threatened to respond with “deadly” retaliation. Park Sang-hak, a North Korean defector-turned-activist, said he his group had launched about eight balloons from an area in the South Korean border town of Paju Saturday night when police officers arrived at the scene and prevented them from sending their 12 remaining balloons. The balloons flown toward North Korea carried masks, Tylenol and Vitamin C tablets along with propaganda materials, including booklets praising South Korea’s economic wealth and democratic society and hundreds of USB sticks containing videos of U.S. Congress members denouncing the North’s human rights record, Park said.
The army captain who announced Friday's takeover says the ousted leader is planning a counter-attack.
- Associated Press
Mehmet Emin Calkan begins work harvesting a tobacco field in rural Turkey before dawn, then has another shift skewering and stringing the tobacco to dry under the sun. While he labors, his boss, tobacco grower Ismail Demir, says rising costs from fuel to fertilizers have seriously affected his livelihood. Both landowner and worker in the tobacco-growing district of Celikhan squeezed between mountains in southeast Turkey are among millions grappling with the country's economic turmoil, including record inflation and a weakening currency.
- The Independent
Video appears to show Ukrainian soldiers raising national flag at entrance to town
Russia's first mobilisation since World War Two, declared by President Vladimir Putin on Sept. 21, has led to widespread discontent among officials and citizens over the way the draft has been handled, including complaints about enlistment officers sending call-up papers to clearly ineligible men. "In 10 days, several thousand of our countrymen received summons and arrived at the military registration and enlistment offices," Mikhail Degtyarev, the governor of the Khabarovsk region in Russia's Far East, said in a video post on the Telegram messaging app. Degtyarev said the removal of the commissar, Yuri Laiko, would not affect the mobilisation plan set by Putin.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says he'll fight against a federal relief bill that would assist his state's recovery from Hurricane Ian if it has 'pork in it'
Rubio on Sunday told CNN he would fight against the bill if it includes spending unrelated to the hurricane damages. "That's the key," he said.
- Business Insider
In the span of a week, Marco Rubio voted against hurricane relief, asked for additional hurricane relief, and praised the Biden administration's hurricane relief
The Florida senator this week demonstrated a now-familiar Republican routine around taking federal money for hurricane relief.
- Steelers Wire
Chris Boswell gets record-breaking field goal in first half.
The 25-year-old walked onto the runway while topless as three people sprayed her with a weblike substance.
Rep. Matt Gaetz was one of several House Republicans who voted against a resolution to allow FEMA to use up to $15 million in the Disaster Relief Fund.
The New Official Palace Portrait Shows a Shift in Who the Royal Family Wants the Public to Consider the 'Fab Four'
It seems that along with pushing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle down to the lowest level on the official royal family website, they don’t want either of them to be considered part of the “Fab Four” anymore. While Prince William and Kate Princess of Wales continue to hold that title, it seems the other half […]
- Badgers Wire
Who will be Wisconsin's next head coach?
The fishing duo posed for a photo with their catch just minutes before an official discovered something inside the animals.
Terry Bradshaw, a Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback and one of the co-hosts on Fox NFL Sunday, revealed Sunday on air that he has battled cancer twice in the last year. Bradshaw had an incident during the pregame show last week and addressed them on Sunday’s episode before the rest of the schedule kicked off. “Last week on […]
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- Road & Track
While some of the soil supporting the track's famous high banks was washed away, a track executive reports no structural damage to the track or its foundations.
- Business Insider
Former federal prosecutor scoffs at Trump's lawyer reportedly trying to keep him from attacking DOJ in Mar-a-Lago probe: 'Bless you, good luck'
"Donald Trump has one mode, it is all offense all the time," Barbara McQuade told MSNBC on Saturday.
- Miami Herald
Feeling increasingly isolated in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Fort Myers Beach residents and renters continued to exit their devastated island by foot Sunday, four days after a 10-foot storm surge driven by 150 mph winds inundated Southwest Florida’s coastal communities.