Wildfire prevention costly
The cost of fighting the wildfire burning in and around Yosemite National Park has risen to more than US$89 million as the blaze enters its fourth week. The Forest Service reported on Saturday that the Rim Fire has burned 1,020km2, 28.5km2 more than the day before when it became the third-biggest wildfire in modern California history. It remains 80 percent contained. The fire started in the Stanislaus National Forest on Aug. 17. There were still more than 3,400 people fighting it as hotter and drier weather arrived on Saturday. Officials say it could cost tens of millions of US dollars more to restore damaged habitat and waterways before the fall rainy season.
US plotting downfall: Maduro
President Nicolas Maduro has claimed the White House is plotting the “collapse” of his government next month by sabotaging food, electricity and fuel supplies. “I have data about a meeting at the White House, the full names of those who attended. I know what plans they made for the total collapse” of the country, Maduro said on Saturday during a ceremony in northern Aragua state. “They think that Venezuela will collapse in October, so long as they plan for it by sabotaging the people’s food, electricity, fuel and refineries.” In recent months, the government has made several allegations about conspiracies against it and plots to kill Maduro, who even stated that Washington wanted to kill him at the same time that it carried out a possible attack on Syria. On Tuesday, Maduro claimed the opposition had sabotaged the electrical power grid after a massive blackout left 70 percent of the country without power for at least four hours.
Traffickers destroy drugs
Egyptian and Syrian drug traffickers set fire to their own ship carrying 30 tonnes of hashish after being intercepted by maritime patrols, the police said on Saturday. The police said in a statement they were tipped off three days ago about a major drug cargo on the ship sailing across the Mediterranean. The statement said that on Friday they approached and tried to board the ship, an 85m cargo vessel registered in Tanzania. “The nine crewmembers, Egyptian and Syrian nationals, set fire to the ship to destroy their precious cargo and jumped into the sea,” it said. The traffickers were fished out of the water and arrested by police and the fire was extinguished after several hours. Maltese forces helped put out the fire on the Gold Star, a spokesman for the Maltese military said, adding that it had deployed three patrol boats and a helicopter in the area.