More than 50 people were treated for asthma and breathing-related problems in Sydney on Tuesday as smoke blown from New South Wales bushfires engulfed the Australian city in thick smoke. Air quality dropped to “hazardous” levels in the Sydney area overnight, according to the New South Wales Bureau of Meteorology. In some areas of Sydney, the air quality was so bad that officials warned everyone to “avoid outdoor exertion and stay inside as much as possible.”
The United States on Monday effectively backed Israel’s right to build Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank by abandoning its four-decade-old position that they were “inconsistent with international law,” a stance that may make Israeli-Palestinian peace even more elusive. The announcement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was a victory for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Taliban have released an American and an Australian held hostage since 2016 in exchange for three prominent members of the militant group who were released by the Afghan government and flown to Qatar the previous day. Australian Timothy Weeks, 50, and Kevin King, 63, an American, were released in southern Zabul province, ending their more than three years in captivity.
Police in Hong Kong are preparing to clear a university which has been occupied by protesters for three days, with the city’s embattled leader vowing that anyone under 18 will not be immediately arrested. Around 100 anti-government protesters remain in Polytechnic University and are slowly running out of food as the police continue to lay siege to the campus.
Millions of Spanish mobile phone users are being tracked this week as part of the government’s census, in a move that critics fear is a step closer towards spying on the population. Statistics agency INE insists the eight-day project is anonymous and aimed at getting a better idea of where Spaniards go during the day and night.