Australia records hottest July: BOM

Australia has recorded it’s hottest July since records began.

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The mean maximum temperature was 2.62C above the average maximum temperature and 0.66C above the previous record set in 1975.

BOM senior climatologist Blair Trewin says the warm weather, caused by a ridge of high pressure over the sub tropics, is normal for Australia in July but what’s missing are the usual big fronts or lows hitting the south.

He said no deep southerly flows have pushed cool air up into central and northern Australia.

“That’s something that just hasn’t happened this year.”

And it’s the north of Australia that has felt most of heat, average maximum temperatures in much of Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia were the highest on record.

In Australia’s south there were no July temperature records but the average maximum was still 1C above the average.

Inland NSW and northern South Australia were the warmest, there temperatures were up to 3C above the average maximum and a warm front in late July saw record maximum daily high temperatures set in NSW, Victoria, WA and SA.

For WA it wasn’t just one episode or one region, the state saw record temperatures in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions recorded on July 14, 27 and 28, while 3000km southeast, Eucla and Forrest recorded their first maximums at or above 30C on July 28.

Mr Trewin said the long-term warming trend is “about a degree over the last century”.

He said 70 years ago exactly the same July weather patterns would have probably only resulted in a one-and-a-half degree temperature increase above the long-term average.

“But the long-term warming trend changes the risk, the sort of weather extremes you might have got once in a hundred years at the start of the last century, you may now get once in 20 years or once in 10 years now.”

Dozens killed in Afghan Shi’ite mosque attack

A suicide attack on a Shi’ite mosque in the western Afghan city of Herat has killed more than 29 people and wounded more than 64.

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Abdulhai Walizada, a local police spokesman, said there appeared to be more than one attacker on Tuesday, with witnesses describing a suicide bomber who detonated explosives and at least one other, a gunman who threw grenades at worshippers.

“Two attackers entered the mosque and started shooting and throwing grenades at people,” said Mohammad Adi, a worshipper at the mosque who was injured in the attack and taken to hospital.

Mohammad Asif Rahimi, governor of Herat, said at least 29 people were killed and 64 wounded in the incident which came two months after an attack on a 12th century mosque known as the Jama Masjid in Herat, in which seven people died.

Relatives mourn after a suicide attack on a mosque in Heart, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017 (AAP)AAP

More than 1700 civilians have been killed in attacks in Afghanistan so far this year, hitting confidence in the Western-backed government of President Ashraf Ghani.

There was no claim of responsibility. But the Taliban, fighting to install strict Islamic law and drive foreign troops out of Afghanistan, denied any involvement.

Ghani, whose government has been under mounting pressure because of deteriorating security across the country, condemned the bombing and called on religious scholars to “raise their voices against the terrorist attacks”.

Afghanistan has traditionally been relatively free of the sectarian violence common in Iraq or Syria but hardline Sunni militants from the local branch of Islamic State have repeatedly attacked the mainly Shi’ite Hazara minority in the past year.

Home ownership too tough for young: study

Home ownership among young Australians has rapidly declined and incomes have flatlined, meaning an increased likelihood of paying rent well into retirement.

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New statistics from the University of Melbourne’s long-term HILDA study show a growing wealth divide across generations, with more young people living at home than in 2001.

Home ownership among 18 to 39-year-olds has declined rapidly since 2001, from 36 per cent down to 25 per cent in 2015.

Professor Roger Wilkins authored the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey and says young people are being locked out of the housing market.

“It’s creating a lot of negative sentiment among people in this age group,” he told AAP.

“It seems aspirations for home ownership haven’t really diminished a great deal.

“The attitude is they would like to be buying homes and they are finding it much more difficult.”

Every year HILDA surveys the same 17,000 people as part of Australia’s longest-running population study.

Prof Wilkins said if the housing market stays unaffordable then young people may never live in their own property.

“We’re looking at a large proportion of this cohort never owning a home and that will have implications for their wellbeing, particularly in retirement, having to pay market rents,” he said.

“Currently well over 80 per cent of retirees own their home, which makes things a lot easier when your income declines.”

Prof Wilkins said household incomes grew strongly to 2009 and slightly between 2009 and 2012, but since then they have, on average, stopped growing.

“A society where incomes aren’t growing can cause problems, disaffection,” he said.

Even though young people will have more superannuation than current retirees, Prof Wilkins warns they may end up using a lot of it to pay off a home loan.

Young adults are also living with their parents longer: 60 per cent of men aged 22 to 25 and 48 per cent of women the same age were living with their parents in 2015.

That’s up from 43 per cent and 27 per cent respectively in 2001.

The study also found attitudes are getting more progressive, with a majority now agreeing that ‘gay couples deserve the same rights as straight couples’.

Hannah McCann, a lecturer in gender studies at the University of Melbourne, said from 2005 to 2015 men went from disagreeing to agreeing with that statement, while women went from neutral to a strong agreement.

“That’s the biggest change in attitudes towards marriage, children and parenting… in the survey,” Dr McCann told AAP.

Udderly amazing: Texas calf’s striking resemblance to KISS frontman Gene Simmons

In a post on the Facebook page of Texas tourism company Hill Country Visitor, staff noted the similarities between Simmons’ black-and-white face paint and long tongue, and the newborn calf named Genie, who was born on a ranch in the locality.

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“Gene Simmons, where were you on or about November 25, 2016?” they joked.

“This calf was born in Kerrville, Texas, on the ranch of a Heather Leonard Taccetta who works at Cowboy Steakhouse.

“Now obviously we can’t serve this fine specimen. We may just keep Genie, as we call her, as a mascot for the Steakhouse.”

Newborn calf Genie bears facial marking that resembles Gene Simmons, the frontman for the rock group Kiss.Heather Taccetta/Hill Country Visitor via AP

The calf’s owner says she listens to KISS, and the tourism company has invited Simmons himself to come and take a look at his doppelganger.

“We’ll treat you to the best steaks in Texas!” they promised.

The rocker, who’s known for hits I Was Made For Lovin’ You and Detroit Rock City, even took to social media to say “this is real folks!”

This is real, folks!!! Calf called Genie is born on Texas ranch and looks EXACTLY like Kiss rocker Gene Simmons 长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/m6CcUlA7cy

— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) July 31, 2017

And the internet loved it:

Gene Simmons trending because a baby cow has the markings of The Demon has made my entire day. pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/klUoQqTDyr

— Amanda Stark (@HTLHellcat) August 1, 2017The best thing the internet has to offer today…. a Gene Simmons barnyard doppleganger. #KISS #RockON pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/WCP3J43cFg

— Laura Warren (@LauraWRDW) August 1, 2017Stop what you’re doing and acknowledge this @genesimmons KISS lookalike cow going viral. Uncanny. #Moo pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/bLjmSR9vrL

— Jessica Dill (@JessicaLynnDill) August 1, 2017

Who are Venezuela’s jailed opposition leaders?

Both were sent back to prison from house arrest for allegedly seeking to escape and not complying with conditions forbidding political activity, according to the Supreme Court.

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Lopez and Ledezma had called on the electorate to boycott Sunday’s vote, which they denounced as an unlawful power grab.

Leopoldo Lopez

Leader of the radical wing of the opposition that believes in the necessity of street action, the 46-year-old economist was educated at Harvard.

He became one of the icons of the anti-Chavista movement (named after those opposed to the country’s late leader Hugo Chavez) following his arrest in February 2014 when he was sentenced to 13 years in prison on charges of inciting violence during protests that led to 43 deaths.

Photogenic and with an easy smile, the former mayor of the upscale Chacao district of the capital notably called for the protests that briefly ousted Chavez from power in April 2002.

His tangles with the government led to him being barred from contesting elections twice, including the presidential vote of 2012.

Married to former TV presenter Lilian Tintori, who herself has become a senior figure in the opposition, the father-of-two is also known for his ambition and taste for confrontation.

After three and a half years behind bars, he was sent to serve the remainder of his sentence at home on July 8 on medical grounds.

Antonio Ledezma

The mayor of Caracas, who is also a lawyer, was arrested and jailed in February 2015 after being accused of conspiring against the president and associating with criminals.

The balding, bespectacled 62-year-old was sent home in April to serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest following surgery.

Ledezma is a veteran of the social democrat Democratic Action party, the country’s most powerful political force until Chavez came to power in 1999.

He was a member of parliament (1984-1992), a governor (1992-1993), senator (1994-1996) and mayor for a district of Caracas (1996-2000).

Elected mayor of the capital in 2009 and re-elected in 2013, he was brutally arrested in 2015 in his offices by several dozen armed intelligence agents wearing balaclavas and bullet-proof vests.

The prosecutor’s office demanded that he be sentenced to 16 years in prison for his alleged support of groups deemed to want to violently destabilize the country. He is married with three children.