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Fire on Cape Town's Table Mountain under control, smoldering

Apr 20, 2021
Firefighters in Cape Town finally brought a wildfire under control Monday after it swept across the slopes of the city's famed Table Mountain, burning the university's historic library and forcing the evacuation of some neighborhoods. The smoldering fire is being watched for flareups amid high winds and hot, dry conditions.

Sale of Chinese painting shows art value rising in pandemic

Apr 20, 2021
A Chinese painting from 1924 is expected to fetch at least $45 million in an auction in Hong Kong, as collectors' appetite for art continues to rise even amid economic uncertainty brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. The painting by influential Chinese modern artist Xu Beihong depicts a slave hiding in a cave and a lion. It is based thematically from ancient Roman mythology and Aesop's Fables, according to Christie's auction house, which unveiled the painting Monday.

Australia-New Zealand travel bubble brings relief, elation

Apr 19, 2021
Elation marked the opening Monday of a long-anticipated travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand. The start of quarantine-free travel was a relief for families who have been separated by the coronavirus pandemic as well as to struggling tourist operators. It marked the first, tentative steps toward what both countries hope will become a gradual reopening to the rest of the world.

Retired Ohio sheriff and tiny K-9 partner die the same day

Apr 17, 2021
The Ohio county sheriff and his tiny police dog were inseparable, their lives unwaveringly intertwined. It thus seems fitting that retired Geauga County Sheriff Dan McClelland, 67, and his crime-fighting partner Midge, 16, would both die on Wednesday — McClelland, at a hospital after a lengthy battle with cancer and Midge, a few hours later at home, perhaps of a broken heart.

New blast at St. Vincent volcano; cruise ship helps evacuees

Apr 17, 2021
La Soufriere volcano shot out another explosive burst of gas and ash on Friday as a cruise ship arrived to evacuate some of the foreigners who had been stuck on a St. Vincent island coated in ash from a week of violent eruptions. The explosions that began on April 9 forced some 20,000 to flee the northern end of the eastern Caribbean island for shelters and contaminated water supplies across the island.

Honduran woman exits Utah church after 3 years in sanctuary

Apr 17, 2021
After over three years living in a Salt Lake City church to avoid being deported, Honduran immigrant Vicky Chavez stepped outside Thursday with tears in her eyes as church congregants and friends cheered, celebrating her newfound freedom. Chavez and her two young daughters took sanctuary in First Unitarian Church in January 2018 after she said she fled an abusive boyfriend in Honduras and sought asylum in the United States but was denied.

Lawmakers fighting like cats and dogs? Not over this bill

Apr 16, 2021
Nine lives notwithstanding, killing a cat in a hit-and-run soon could become illegal in New Hampshire. New Hampshire was ahead of the pack when it passed a law nearly 40 years ago that requires drivers who injure or kill dogs to notify police or the animals’ owners, or else face a $1,000 fine. It is unclear why cats and other pets were left out, but the state Legislature is currently considering an expansion that would give cats and canines equal standing.

Trump-era spike in Israeli settlement growth has only begun

Apr 15, 2021
An aggressive Israeli settlement spree during the Trump era pushed deeper than ever into the occupied West Bank — territory the Palestinians seek for a state — with over 9,000 homes built and thousands more in the pipeline, an AP investigation showed. If left unchallenged by the Biden administration, the construction boom could make fading hopes for an internationally backed two-state solution — Palestine alongside Israel — even more elusive.

Sikhs mark toned-down holiday amid continuing virus concerns

Apr 14, 2021
Sikhs across the United States are holding toned-down Vaisakhi celebrations this week, joining people of other faiths in observing major holidays cautiously this spring as COVID-19 keeps an uneven hold on the country. Vaisakhi, which falls April 13 or 14 depending on which of two dueling calendars one follows, marks the day in 1699 when Sikhism took its current form. While the ongoing pandemic has many people celebrating remotely this year just as in 2020, some, especially in the United States, are joining in masked, socially distant Vaisakhi gatherings.

France suspends all Brazil flights due to virus variants

Apr 14, 2021
France suspended all flights from Brazil on Tuesday amid mounting fears over the particularly contagious coronavirus variant that has been sweeping the South American country. Prime Minister Jean Castex announced the suspension to parliament. Although France has seen comparatively few known cases of the P.1 variant striking Brazil, the ravages it is causing in Latin America’s largest nation are increasingly raising alarm bells in France.