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Portugal and Spain wildfires kill at least 39 people

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At least 36 people died in wildfires raging through parched farmlands and forests in Portugal and another three in neighboring northwestern Spain on Sunday and Monday.

Firefighters were battling 50 blazes in Portugal and a similar number in Spain. Portugal’s government asked for international help and declared a state of emergency in territory north of the Tagus river – about half of its landmass.

Flames ripped across Iberian countryside left tinder-dry by an unusually hot summer and early autumn, fanned by strong winds as remnants of ex-Hurricane Ophelia brushed coastal areas.

Footage showed abandoned villages with many houses in embers and charred vehicles left on the roads.

Portuguese opposition parties and the media harshly criticized the government for failing to prevent a new wave of deadly fires after the country’s worst ever forest fire in June that killed 64 people.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa, however, refused to sack his interior minister and defended his government’s attempts to reform the troubled forestry management system.

“We are aware that the country wants results from us and we’re running against time after decades of negligence,” Costa told reporters after his address.

At the heart of the problem is poor land management in Portugal, where traditional small plots have become fire hazards after being abandoned by successive generations of landholders who moved to the cities.

Interior Minister Constanca Urbano de Sousa said climate change was also to blame. “We are facing new (weather) conditions … In an era of climate change, such disasters are becoming reality all over the world,” she said, citing the wildfires burning in California.

The weekend fires also injured 63 people in Portugal, civil protection service spokeswoman Patricia Gaspar said. The toll could still increase as seven people were unaccounted for.

Water-spraying planes could not be deployed against most fires due to gigantic plumes of smoke that reduced visibility.

But Gaspar said rains expected late on Monday and on Tuesday in the north of Portugal were likely to bring some relief.

The Lisbon government has been criticized for a slow, inefficient response and a lack of fire-prevention policies, leaving Portugal with Europe’s largest expanse of woodland burned by wildfires.

Portugal’s fires have burned over 40 percent of the total in all of the European Union this year. With just 2.1 percent of the EU’s landmass, Portugal suffered the biggest fires during 2008-16 as well, with an average of 36 percent of the total.

Three people died in Spain’s northwestern Galicia region – two of them women found inside a burnt-out car, the third a man in his 70s killed as he tried to save his farm animals, according to local media.

Most of the fires in Galicia were started deliberately, said Alberto Nunez Feijoo, head of the regional government.

Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said some of those responsible had already been identified. They could face up to 20 years in jail if convicted. At least two persons were arrested in Portugal for allegedly starting fires.

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Health & Lifestyle

TOP 8 MAGNIFICENT EYES FROM AROUND WORLD

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1. A perfect contrast of warm skin tone and bright-colored eyes.

1. A perfect contrast of warm skin tone and bright-colored eyes.

There is something strange about this beautiful pair of eyes that will not want you to look away, not even for a minute. They look very attractive and eye-catchy. The blueness of her eyes looks so calming. Her skin colour and colour of her eyes, even though is an unusual combination but is very enchanting.

2. Attention drawing eye colour.

2. Attention drawing eye colour.

It is actually hard to look away from her blue eyes.

3. It is bliss to watch this duo!

3. It is bliss to watch this duo!

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The sisters seem to be blessed effortlessly.

4. Have you ever had a glimpse of eyes so green?

4. Have you ever had a glimpse of eyes so green?

Profound!

5. Her eyes speak her mind…

5. Her eyes speak her mind...

Absolutely breath-taking, she has a mirror in them.

6. What word would you like to give to these eyes?

6. What word would you like to give to these eyes?

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Gorgeous, stunning or simply out of the world?

7. Flawless tint.

7. Flawless tint.

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Those aqua blue eyes, so perfect!

8. She is a turquoise fantasy!

8. She is a turquoise fantasy!

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Prettiest girl in the world, I must say.

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Nature

The World’s 10 Best Places to Visit On Vacation.

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The world is full of diverse destinations that are waiting to be explored. But with so many options, it can be hard to narrow down your bucket list. That’s why U.S. News used a methodology that takes into account expert and editor analysis and reader votes to determine which destinations qualify for a spot on the list of the World’s Best Places to Visit. This year’s ranking includes sprawling European metropolises, picturesque Caribbean islands, quaint mountain towns and exquisite natural wonders that are sure to wow every type of traveler.

St. Lucia's Twin Pitons framed by flowers
Jackson Lake Magic at Jackson Hole in Wyoming
Sunset above Vermilion Lakes, Banff National Park, Canada.
Aerial view of Macchu Picchu ruins in remote landscape, Cusco, Peru
Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Whitsunday Islands, Australia.
Long exposure of cars driving down Main St. in Park City, Utah.
palm tree overhanging the water at a beach resort on Peter Island, British Virgin Islands
High angle view of Catarata del Toro waterfall at sunset, Costa Rica.
Merced River and El Capitan at Yosemite National Park.
Tahiti in the Pacific Ocean
Panoramic view from the Baluarte del Mirador. San Sebastian/Donostia (Guipuzcoa).
Wooded bridge pier between sunset in Phuket.
Aerial photo of Breckenridge Colorado in autumn.
Part of the Vancouver skyline, seen from Olympic Village at the end of False Creek. In the foreground is the ramp down to the watertaxi dock, with the geodesic dome of the Science Museum behind, along with some apartment buildings and offices on Quebec Street.

1. St. Lucia
Lush rainforests, majestic mountains and romantic resorts are all reasons to visit this Caribbean island. A haven for honeymooners, St. Lucia offers the perfect mix of seclusion, relaxation and adventure. To take in the spectacular landscape, plan to hike the Piton Mountains or snorkel and scuba dive in the waters of Anse Chastanet.

2. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Tucked away less than 60 miles south of Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole sees an influx of winter travelers looking to hit the slopes at upscale ski resorts. But you’d be remiss to think that’s all there is to do in this small Wyoming town. Visit the neighboring Grand Teton National Park for awe-inspiring vistas, catch a glimpse of majestic animals at the National Elk Refuge or relax sore muscles in the Granite Hot Springs.

3. Banff, Alberta
This Canadian destination will bring out the explorer in anyone who visits. From hiking and whitewater rafting to skiing and snowboarding, Banff offers travelers an abundance of year-round outdoor activities. The Lake Louise Ski Resort is one of the largest in North America and the striking photo ops of the Canadian Rockies from Moraine Lake can’t be underestimated.

4. Machu Picchu 
According to travelers, a visit to this Peruvian UNESCO World Heritage site is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Located in the Andes Mountains, the lost city of the Incas features 12 acres of temples, aqueducts and gardens for travelers to discover. Spend a few days acclimating to the altitude in the neighboring city of Cusco, where you can soak up a mix of Incan and Spanish cultures.

5. Great Barrier Reef
It’s easy to see why the Great Barrier Reef is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World – it stretches nearly 1,500 miles along the eastern coastline of Australia and features 3,000 coral reefs, 600 islands and more than 1,600 species of fish. Travelers can see these amazing natural structures from the air or underwater. However, large amounts of coral bleaching (caused by rising ocean temperatures) threaten to destroy this massive marine life habitat, so plan your visit soon to see this awesome sight up close.

6. Park City, Utah
For a luxury ski vacation, look no further than Park City. Popular upscale mountain resorts, specifically Deer Valley and Park City Mountain, provide some of the best ski conditions in the U.S. Even if you’re not a powder hound, sites like the Guardsman Pass Scenic Backway and Utah Olympic Park will keep you entertained. For a dose of culture, plan your visit in January, when celebrities descend on the town for the annual Sundance Film Festival.

7. The British Virgin Islands
One look at the aquamarine waters that surround the British Virgin Islands and you’ll see why they’re consistently rated a top Caribbean destination. Sure, other islands have white sand beaches too, but the British Virgin Islands aren’t crowded with megaresorts or cruise ports. Instead, the chain of 60 islands values exclusivity and luxury, so you’ll want to bring your credit card along.

8. Costa Rica
Nature enthusiasts looking to go off the grid should travel to Costa Rica. Home to a diverse landscape of tropical rainforests, volcanic mountains, pristine beaches and wildlife reserves, this Central American country draws adventure seekers and animal lovers alike. Explore the Nicoya Peninsula before heading to the remote Tortuguero National Park to spot exotic wildlife.

9. Tahiti, French Polynesia
From luxurious bungalows suspended over clear turquoise waters to lush vegetation and stunning waterfalls, Tahiti is all about basking in the colorful landscape. The largest island in French Polynesia is ideal for those seeking solitude, but areas like La Plage de Maui and Plage du Taharuu are also popular with tourists.

10. San Sebastian, Spain
You’re probably familiar with Spanish hot spots like Madrid and Barcelona, but the northern coastal town of San Sebastian deserves a spot on your bucket list, too. Known for its gorgeous beaches and unique culture, San Sebastian offers a small-town atmosphere influenced by Basque Country. Foodies are also in for a treat as the region is famous for its pintxos – the Basque version of tapas. Explore the city’s pintxos bars on your own or with an organized tour group.

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