In a year that has already brought apocalyptic skies and smothering smoke to the West Coast, California set a grim new record Sunday when officials announced that the wildfires of 2020 have now scorched a record 4 million acres — in a fire season that is far from over.
The unprecedented figure — an area larger than the state of Connecticut — is more than double the previous record for the most land burned in a single year in California.
“The 4 million mark is unfathomable. It boggles the mind, and it takes your breath away,” Scott McLean, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire, told The Associated Press. “And that number will grow.”
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Friday that the world is living “in the shadow of nuclear catastrophe,” fueled by growing distrust and tensions between the nuclear powers.
The U.N. chief told a high-level meeting to commemorate the recent International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons that progress on ridding the world of nuclear weapons “has stalled and is at risk of backsliding.” And he said strains between countries that possess nuclear weapons “have increased nuclear risks.”
As examples, Guterres expressed deep concern at the escalating disputes between the Trump administration and China. Relations between the U.S. and Russia are at a low point. Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan are feuding over Kashmir, and India just had a border skirmish with China. And North Korea boasts about its nuclear weapons.
Facebook and Twitter promised to stop encouraging the growth of the baseless conspiracy theory QAnon, which fashions President Donald Trump as a secret warrior against a supposed child-trafficking ring run by celebrities and government officials after it reached an audience of millions on their platforms this year.
But the social media companies still aren’t enforcing even the limited restrictions they’ve recently put in place to stem the tide of dangerous QAnon material, a review by The Associated Press found. Both platforms have vowed to stop “suggesting” QAnon material to users, a powerful way of introducing QAnon to new people. But neither has actually succeeded at that.
For more than 80 years, the grave of the first woman to vote under an equal suffrage law in the United States was marked with a misspelled name. Not anymore.
On Sept. 28, her descendants, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, and others gathered at Seraph Young’s corrected headstone in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
“She was a pioneer for women’s suffrage,” Herbert said in a press call after the wreath-laying ceremony. Her story is an example of how people today can also be pioneers and clear a path for future generations, he said.