Australia to ban climbing on Uluru.

An aerial view of Uluru. (Image courtesy of David Gray/Reuters)

A sign reading “Please don’t climb” at the base of Uluru, a giant sandstone slab in the central Australian desert, has been ignored for decades. As of 29 October 2019, climbing the rock will be officially banned. The move is to respect the Anangu people, to whom the government returned ownership of the rock in 1985. Uluru symbolizes the struggle for Indigenous rights, and even the owners do not climb the rock out of worry that hiking will damage the stone. Sally Barnes, Australia’s Director of National Parks said it was “a significant moment for all Australians” and “it clearly says we put our country and culture first.”

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Antarctica’s ozone hole shrinks.

The purple and blue colours are areas with the least ozone on Earth. (Image courtesy of Katy Mersmann/NASA Ozone Watch)

The ozone hole above Antarctica reached its maximum size for 2017 in September at 19.6 million square kilometres, but shrank after mid-September. 2017’s maximum size, although twice as big as the United States, is significantly lower than previous years. Paul Newman, the chief Earth scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center said that this year’s drop is mostly natural but signifies a trend of improvements since the ban of ozone-eating chemicals in a 1987 treaty. However, the size of the hole also depends on stormy conditions in the upper atmosphere that prevent the ozone hole from being eaten by chemicals. Scientists are still investigating why some years are stormier than others.

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Lebanese Prime Minister quits.

Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned 4 November 2017. (Image courtesy of Yiannis Kourtoglou/Reuters)

On Saturday 4 November, Prime Minister Saad Hariri of Lebanon said he had quit his post. The announcement was a sign of the growing rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which is a result of the escalating power of Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite political party, and of Iran. In Lebanon’s political system, power must be divided between a Sunni prime minister, a Maronite Christian president, and a Shiite speaker of Parliament. Mr. Hariri headed a unity cabinet that was meant to protect the country from any effects from the war in Syria, but Hezbollah has sided with the Syrian government and Lebanese Sunni militants have joined the insurgents there. Mr. Hariri claimed he resigned because he wanted to unite Lebanon and free it from outside influence, but others believe that he was influenced by Saudi Arabia, who wants to weaken Hezbollah by denying it a credible Sunni partner in governance.

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Beauty pageant contestants in Peru protest “Feminicide”.

Miss Peru contest Camila Canicoba said, “My measurements are 2202 cases of feminicide.” (Image courtesy of CreditCanal Peru)

Instead of telling their name and body measurements to the audience, 24 contestants at a Miss Peru pageant stated statistics related to violence against women. The pageant has subsequently ignited debate in Peru, where violence against women is extreme. Some who shared the contestants’ concerns were offended by the venue, considering women who were parading  as sex objects were protesting sexual abuse and killings. “The idea was to call attention and get people to react,” Luciana Olivares, the organizer of the campaign, told reporters afterward.

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Vietnam is hit by Typhoon Damrey.

Destruction caused by Typhoon Damrey. (Image courtesy of EuroNews)

On November 4, Typhoon Damrey hit Vietnam’s south-central coast killing at least 15 people. This is the second natural disaster in Vietnam in a month, following recent flooding triggered by a tropical storm. The province of Khanh Hoa was hit the worst by Damrey, with 14 people killed by collapsing houses and floods. The typhoon destroyed 302 homes, blew the roofs off 25,000, caused widespread blackouts, and damaged rice fields and other crops. Over 35,000 villagers were evacuated before the typhoon hit, and schoolchildren were ordered to stay home.

Source and more information can be found here.