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Alaska is warming so quickly that weather algorithms can’t keep up

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The Arctic is heating up way faster than the rest of the world. A picture that could not possibly have been taken in Utqiaġvik this week because it’s currently dark 24 hours a day there. Pixabay The National Centers for Environmental Information get a lot of, well, environmental information.

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Papua New Guinea bans travelers from all ‘Asian ports’

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Papua New Guinea shut air and seaports to all foreign travellers coming from Asia on Wednesday, in a desperate bid to prevent the deadly coronavirus from reaching the impoverished Melanesian nation.

In a note to airlines and boat operators, the ministry of immigration said "all citizens originating from the Asian ports will be refused entry to the country effective today".

The ministry also announced that Papua New Guinea's only official land border -- with Indonesian-controlled Papua province -- would be shut from Thursday.

No cases of coronavirus have been reported in Papua New Guinea, but the country's health service is already buckling under the weight of underfunding and rampant public health problems.

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British Airways suspends all flights to mainland China over coronavirus

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Syria army says retakes key northwest town

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Syria government forces recaptured the strategic highway town of Maaret al-Numan from jihadist and allied rebels on Wednesday, the army said, returning for the first time in seven years.

"Our forces managed in the past few days to stamp out terrorism in many villages and towns," including Maaret al-Numan, an army spokesman said.

In 2011, Maaret al-Numan was one of the first towns in the northwestern province of Idlib to rise up against the Damascus government and the following year, it was captured by rebels fighting against President Bashar al-Assad's rule.

It lies on a key highway connecting the capital to second city Aleppo and has long been in the sights of the government.

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