January 25, 2020
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    Australian cricket great sells 'baggy green' cap' for bushfire appeal

    January 06, 2020

    Australian cricket great Shane Warne is set to raise more than 300,000 Australian dollars (£160,000) for the bushfire appeal by auctioning off his prized 'baggy green' Test cap.The 50-year-old wore the cap throughout his 145-Test career, in which he took an Australian record 708 wickets.At least 24 people have died since the fires began in September."Everyone is in this together and we continue to find ways to contribute and help on a daily basis," said Warne."This has led me to auction off my beloved baggy green cap that I wore throughout my Test career."I hope my baggy green can raise some significant funds to help all those people that are in desperate need."All money raised will go to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund, with the highest bid at 07:00 GMT on Monday standing at A$301,500. The auction is open until Friday.
    The fires are a natural part of the Australian weather cycle, but have been worsened this year by hotter-than-average temperatures and a persistent drought in many areas.Warne is Test cricket's second-most successful bowler, with only Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan (800) taking more wickets.The 'baggy green' is given to an Australian Test player when he makes his international debut and cricketers usually wear the same cap throughout their career.Legendary batsman Don Bradman's 'baggy green' fetched A$425,000 (£225,000) in 2003 - the Australian, who died in 2001, has the highest Test average of 99.94 runs.
    Tennis stars also pledge financial support
    Novak Djokovic, the world number two in men's tennis, has also pledged financial support to the relief fund, matching the A$25,000 donation given by five-time women's Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova.Sharapova, 32, asked Djokovic to support the cause after saying on Sunday she would donate, with Serbia's 16-time major winner agreeing to help in a Twitter message to the Russian on Monday.Australian world number one Ashleigh Barty has already said she will give all of her prize money from the Brisbane International to the relief fund.Novak Djokovic offers financial support to Australia bushfire fundSouth Africa chasing record 438 after Sibley century - listen to The Cricket Social
    Rain brings relief but huge blazes expected
    Media captionAustralia's capital Canberra is engulfed in smoke
    Rain has fallen in fire-ravaged parts of Australia and temperatures have dropped - but officials have warned that blazes will "take off" again.

    Sooty rain fell down the east coast, from Sydney to Melbourne, with "torrential" rain reported in some parts of New South Wales (NSW).

    But on Sunday night officials warned temperatures would rise by Thursday.

    They also said huge fires in Victoria and New South Wales could meet to create a larger "mega blaze".

    "There is no room for complacency," NSW state Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned on Monday.

    "This morning it is all about recovery, making sure people who have been displaced have somewhere safe."

    Despite the respite, haze pollution remained dangerously high.

    Victoria's Bureau of Meteorology warned that visibility in Melbourne was less than 1km (0.62 miles) in many parts of the city and its surroundings.

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    The easing of conditions meant valuable supplies could be taken to affected areas.

    The army said it had sent supplies, personnel, and vehicles to Kangaroo Island off near the city of Adelaide in South Australia. The island has been devastated by bushfires, with two people killed last week.

    The army also sent out reconnaissance and assistance missions in NSW and Victoria.

    Image Copyright @[email protected]<br< a="">>Report
    Hundreds more properties destroyed at the weekend. Rural towns and major cities saw red skies, falling ash and smoke that clogged the air.

    But by Monday there were no emergency warnings, following the weather change.

    Victoria state had 25 "watch and act" alerts and South Australia one "watch and act" alert.

    In NSW, all fires were back at the "advice" level, the lowest alert level.

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    However, Victoria Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp warned "it will warm up" and the fires "will take off again".

    On Monday morning, there were only around 10km between a blaze in Victoria's Corryong and two burning at Kosciuszko National Park in NSW.

    "This will be a changing, dynamic situation," he said, warning it was "inevitable" the fires would join across the border.

    Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said A$2bn ($1.4bn; £1.1bn) would be committed to recovery over the next two years.

    At the weekend, a fundraiser launched by comedian Celeste Barber for fire services in NSW raised more than A$35m in just 48 hours.

    A number of celebrities have also donated money to support firefighting efforts in recent days - among them US singer Pink, and Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman, who pledged $500,000 each.

    And on Monday, pop star Kylie Minogue tweeted she had donated too:

    Image Copyright @[email protected]<br< a="">>Report
    Turning from orange to grey
    Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Eden, NSW

    With its drizzle and grey horizon, the wharf at Eden could almost be an English coastal town.

    It's hard to fathom that on Saturday night - as fire threatened and skies turned orange - this was where hundreds of people fled to perceived safety near the water.

    Image copyrightREUTERS
    Image caption
    This is what Eden, NSW, looked like on Saturday
    Image copyrightBBC SIMON ATKINSON
    Image caption
    Rain falls on the HMAS Adelaide in Eden on Monday
    Most have now left: some to their homes as the fire threat eased, others to evacuation centres in bigger towns after authorities warned the wharf wasn't a safe option.

    The rain is a welcome surprise, and has given some respite from the smoke-filled air.

    But with hot dry conditions predicted later in the week, Eden's people - like many in this corner of the country - are in limbo.

    And the navy ship lurking off the coast - poised to help in rescue mission - is another reminder this is far from over.

    Australia is fighting one of its worst bushfire seasons, fuelled by record temperatures and months of drought.

    At least 24 people have died since the fires began in September.

    At the weekend, Mr Morrison warned the crisis might go on for months.

    Media captionThe BBC's Phil Mercer says Kangaroo Valley has "a horrible, ghostly feel"
    Mr Morrison announced the creation of a recovery agency to help those who have lost homes and businesses in the fires.

    He has faced fierce criticism for his response - including for taking a holiday to Hawaii during the crisis.

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    Is climate change to blame for Australia's fires?
    Former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop - and Mr Morrison's Liberal Party colleague - said the PM was "doing the best he can", but urged the government to act on climate change.

    "We don't have a national energy policy in this country and a national approach to climate change," she said.

    "If a country like Australia fails to show leadership, we can hardly blame other nations for not likewise showing leadership in this area."

    Last modified on Monday, 06 January 2020 19:17

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