UK & World News
Sydney Bakes In Hottest Day As Bushfires Rage
Sydney has had its hottest day on record as temperatures reached a blistering 45.8C (114.4F) in the Australian city.
The temperature beat the previous high of 45.3C, which was set in 1939.
Beaches were packed with people trying to cool down in the surf, and streets were far quieter than usual as locals stayed inside air conditioned homes, offices and shopping malls.
The outer Sydney suburb of Penrith was even hotter with the mercury reaching 46.5C.
By late afternoon on Friday, the ambulance service of the state of New South Wales had responded to 93 cases of heat exposure.
On top of that, 133 people fainted and 37 people were treated for vomiting, with most of those cases attributed to the heat.
Sparks from Sydney's monorail briefly set fire to trees and grass while 200 people had to be treated at a music festival, a St John's Ambulance spokesman said.
At the Australia Youth Olympics in western Sydney a number of events had to be cancelled or postponed because of the soaring temperatures.
As well as delays on the railways caused by overhead wiring and signals failing in the heat, a 12 mile (20km) section of road started to melt, with authorities cutting the speed limit because of safety fears.
The hot weather is bad news for thousands of volunteer firefighters still tackling dozens of bushfires across the country. Several collapsed with heat exhaustion in New South Wales.
Meanwhile the bushfires have claimed their first known victim, as a man's body was discovered in a burned-out car near the small town of Seaton, about 120 miles (200km) east of Melbourne in Victoria state, police said.
He has yet to be identified.
A 61-year-old firefighter was found dead on Sunday in Tasmania although his death it is not believed to be as a result of the fires.
Bushfires are common throughout Australia in the summer, although record high temperatures and dry conditions in many areas have added to the ferocity of some blazes.
Some relief is in sight, with cooler temperatures and rain predicted across much of the country's southeast for the weekend. Still, many of the fires were expected to continue burning for weeks.
"It's a very dangerous environment we're experiencing today," Victoria Country Fire Authority operations manager Bill Johnstone said. "Given the conditions, it's probably as bad as it can get."
"We're certainly here for a very protracted fire fight," Mr Johnstone said. "We could be here for days, possibly weeks."